In a new study, slf-esteem in some overweight girls didn't bounce back, even after their body mass index returned to normal.
It's easy to think that losing weight will solve all the body image and self-esteem issues that one grapples with. But that's not the case, as many people know from experience. Now, a new study shows that formerly obese young women may continue to have self-esteem issues, even after the weight is lost.
In the study, 2,000 Caucasian and African-American girls were followed for 10 years, beginning when they were between nine and 10 years old. Based on body mass index (BMI), they were placed into one of three groups: normal weight, transitioning from obesity to normal weight, and chronically obese. The participants filled out questionnaires about their self-image every other year during the study period.
The next steps in Mustillo's work will be to pinpoint the periods during youth when people are more or less susceptible to the "stigma of obesity."
African-American girls started out with lower self-esteem if they were overweight, but those who lost weight gained more self-esteem over time than Caucasian girls did. The self-esteem of Caucasian girls who were initially obese was also lower than normal weight girls, but it stayed fairly constant over time, even after they lost weight. In other words, it did not "rebound" as it did for African-American girls.