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Keywords:

  • obesity;
  • weight;
  • stress;
  • child

Abstract

Childhood obesity is a public health epidemic and is associated with substantial negative physical and psychosocial health consequences. Stress is thought to be one contributor to the development and maintenance of obesity in children and adolescents, yet the linkage between stress and paediatric obesity is a poorly understood phenomenon. This paper furthers the understanding of stress in the context of paediatric obesity by firstly presenting a focused review of what is known about links between chronic and acute stress and paediatric obesity risk and then synthesizing important areas from the literature. These critical areas of focus include the following: (1) physiological stress reactivity; (2) stress-induced eating; (3) stress and physical activity; (4) parent and family influences; and (5) stress in at-risk populations. This review is geared toward facilitating future research on the stress–obesity connection in youth. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.