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date: 04 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The body weight of U.S. adults and children has risen markedly over the past three decades. The physical health consequences of obesity are widely documented, and emerging research from the Midlife in the United States study and other large-scale surveys reveals the harmful impact of obesity on adults’ psychosocial and interpersonal well-being. This chapter synthesizes recent research on the psychosocial implications of body weight, with attention to explanatory mechanisms and subgroup differences in these patterns. A brief statistical portrait of body weight is provided, documenting rates and correlates of obesity, with a focus on race, gender, and socioeconomic status disparities. The consequences of body weight for three main outcomes are described: institutional and everyday discrimination, interpersonal relationships, and psychological well-being. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the ways that recent integrative health research on the psychosocial consequences of overweight and obesity inform our understanding of population health.

Keywords: body weight, physical health, obesity, race, gender, socioeconomic status, discrimination, interpersonal relationships, psychological well-being, overweight

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