Weight Issues


How do weight issues affect us?

Weight issues are more common and affect more people than most understand. The more conspicuous symptoms of weight issues relate to an individual’s physical condition. These challenges manifest in multiple ways. Excess weight often leads to other issues, including diabetes and osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, the less obvious symptoms are more dangerous. These matters involve mental health and emotional challenges resulting from weight issues.



Young woman having a rough day and struggling with weight issues.

Who is affected by weight issues?

Unfortunately, we live in an era when weight issues are trending upward. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the percentage of US adults classified as overweight and obese has risen from 63.2 percent in 2011 to 66.7 percent in 2019.

Adults 2011 2015 2019
Overweight 35.8 35.7 35.2
Obese 27.4 28.9 31.4
Total 63.2 64.6 66.6


Though lower overall, overweight and obese adolescent numbers are on the rise as well. The totals for this segment of our society have risen from 28.2 percent in 2011 to 31.6 percent in 2019.

Adolescents 2011 2015 2019
Overweight 15.2 16.0 16.1
Obese 13.0 13.9 15.5
Total 28.2 29.9 31.6

These figures show us that two-thirds of our adults and approximately one-third of adolescents are currently dealing with weight issues.

What are weight issues?

To classify weight issues, the CDC uses Body Mass Index (BMI), or the weight divided by height  of each individual in the study. An overweight individual has a BMI greater than 25 but less than 30. Those who are obese have a BMI greater than 30.

To check your BMI, simply search a web browser for “BMI calculator.” You will be able to fill in your weight and height to calculate your BMI.

If your BMI falls in the overweight or obese range, and especially if you have had trouble maintaining a regular diet, it is prudent to seek help before other symptoms arise.


What are the consequences of weight issues?

Aside from the more obvious physical repercussions of weight issues, individuals falling into the overweight and obese BMI categories often develop serious mental health problems. Depression is one of the more common issues that can result. One study shows that individuals dealing with weight issues have a 55 percent higher risk of developing depression than those who don’t struggle with their weight.

Because society often places a stigma on overweight individuals, those dealing with weight issues often develop a poor body image that reflects the stereotypes assigned by those around them. Obese and overweight individuals also suffer from weight discrimination because they are perceived as lazy and unattractive. Self-esteem suffers in these situations, which can lead to physiological issues. Ultimately, all these factors can result in a lower quality of life because of the loneliness and isolation suffered by overweight and obese individuals.

Accordingly, weight issues can lead to significant physical and mental health disorders, including:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Low self-esteem
  • Agoraphobia
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Addictions
  • Suicide
man meditating on the floor

Why do these weight issue symptoms develop?

Though there are many reasons and rationales why people develop weight issues, the primary factor lies in brain function. People struggling with weight issues frequently suffer from brain dysfunctions that affect the way they view food and eating.

Studies have found that there are five primary categories for over eaters. Each of these categories is listed below with a corresponding brain issue that leads to the individual’s struggle.

  1. Impulsive over eaters – low prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity
  2. Compulsive over eaters – elevated activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG) with low serotonin levels
  3. Impulsive-compulsive over eaters – combination of low PFC activity with increased in the ACG
  4. Anxious over eaters – elevated activity in the basal ganglia
  5. Emotional over eaters – increased activity in the limbic system

How do you treat people with weight issues?

An important first step in treating any mental health disorder is a proper diagnosis. In the case of weight issues, we must understand they are not the problem; they are the result of a problem. It is imperative that we first determine what brain malfunction is causing the weight issue.

At Bridgepoint, our thorough screening process and patient analysis will reveal the underlying cause of any weight issues so that we can begin a proper treatment. Options for treatment will vary depending on the cause as well as the severity of the issue. Typically, treatments will fall in at least one of the following methods:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: Focusing on behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, this form of therapy will re-train the brain to follow healthy eating behaviors.
  • Group cognitive behavioral therapy: Sometimes working to re-train brain function within a group of like-minded individuals offers added benefits to the therapy while learning to manage behaviors and feelings.
  • Family therapy: In this form of therapy, the entire family is trained to work together to create a stronger environment and promote healthy eating patterns.

In appropriate situations, medications may supplement the forms of therapy above.  Medications cannot solve weight issues on their own, but they can serve as helpful partners to therapy as healing occurs. Please note that when taking any medications, a proper diagnosis and dosing by a licensed professional is imperative.


How can Bridgepoint help me with my weight issues?

At Bridgepoint, our primary concern is to see you thrive in your mental, emotional, and physical health. Our exceptionally trained staff has years of experience leading patients successfully through a range of weight issues. We are equipped and prepared to help you through your unique situation and set a course for restorative healing.

We encourage you to contact us today, before symptoms worsen and complicate your steps to recovery. You can get past this challenge. We are excited to partner with you in your recovery.

Visit Our Resources Page

Bridgepoint encourages clinicians, patients, and their loved ones to research new methodologies and techniques to improve mental health and wellbeing. To assist with your own learning, we’ve put together a variety of resources on a variety of topics – including genomics – to help you on your mental health journey.

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