Obesity and depression are on the rise among UK young people, according to a large-scale study led by the University College London. The study was published after the government discussed about how to cut down offensive and body shaming content on social media.
Researchers found that there is a significant correlation between obesity and depression. The report also highlights how the influence of social media images is affecting not only the physical both also the mental health of young people. About 30% of the people interviewed said that they see themselves as overweight and that has a negative influence on their self-esteem and happiness.
“Obesity is one of the health epidemics of our time and increasingly we are noticing that there is a link not only between obesity and physical disorders, but also between obesity an mental health issues” said Karen McMahon, mental health advisor at the University of the West of Scotland.
“Very often young people are exposed to images that are unrealistic.”
Some of the students UWS news interviewed felt they needed to have a perfect body like the people on Twitter or Instagram and that put pressure on their mental health, while others felt they have been influenced by social media when they were younger, but they have now grown confident with their body and their general well being.
To tackle the problem of both obesity and depression, many universities, including UWS, are encouraging students and staff to do some sort of physical activity. “Physical activity provides individuals with a form of distraction, which means it helps take your mind off the problems you might be facing within your social life” said Harry Warburton, lecturer in sports coaching and development at UWS.
“Another positive effect of doing exercise is the release of endorphins, which is a chemical reaction within your brain that makes you feel good.”
To encourage people, this year the UWS is offering completely free access to the gym, but there is still no evidence of whether the number of people accessing the facilities this year has increased compared to last year.