Understanding the dynamics emerging from the interplay among poor mental wellbeing, energy balance-related behaviors, and obesity prevalence in adolescents: A simulation-based study

Anaely Aguiar, Furkan Önal, Gaironeesa Hendricks, Laurence Blanchard, Eduard Romanenko, Anne-Siri Fismen, Emmanuel Nwosu, Sondre Herstad, Natalie Savona, Janetta Harbron, Cécile Knai, Oddrun Samdal, Harry Rutter, Nanna Lien, Mohammad S. Jalali, Birgit Kopainsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Both obesity and poor mental wellbeing have a high prevalence in European youth. Adolescents in six countries identified mental wellbeing factors as main drivers of youth obesity through systems mapping. This study sought to (1) explore the dynamics of the interplay between poor mental wellbeing, energy balance-related behaviors, and adolescent overweight and obesity prevalence and (2) test the effect of intervention point scenarios to reduce adolescent obesity. Drawing on the youth-generated systems maps and a literature synthesis, we built a simulation model that represents the links from major feedback pathways for poor mental wellbeing to changes in dietary, physical activity, and sleep behaviors. The model was calibrated using survey data from Norway, expert input, and literature and shows a good fit between simulated behavior and available statistical data. The simulations indicate that adolescent mental wellbeing is harmed by socio-cultural pressures and stressors, which trigger reinforcing feedback mechanisms related to emotional/binge eating, lack of motivation to engage in physical activity, and sleep difficulty. Targeting a combination of intervention points that support a 25% reduction of pressure on body image and psychosocial stress showed potentially favorable effects on mental wellbeing—doubling on average for boys and girls and decreasing obesity prevalence by over 4%.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13628
Number of pages15
JournalObesity Reviews
Volume24
Issue numberS2
Early online date27 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The “Confronting obesity: Co-creating policy with youth” (CO-CREATE) project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 774210 (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/774210). The content of this document reflects only the authors' views, and the European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information it contains. The authors would like to thank Christina Gkini and Jefferson K. Rajah for their review of earlier iterations of this work.

Funding Information:
The “Confronting obesity: Co‐creating policy with youth” (CO‐CREATE) project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 774210 ( https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/774210 ). The content of this document reflects only the authors' views, and the European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information it contains. The authors would like to thank Christina Gkini and Jefferson K. Rajah for their review of earlier iterations of this work.

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • mental wellbeing
  • obesity prevention
  • system dynamics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding the dynamics emerging from the interplay among poor mental wellbeing, energy balance-related behaviors, and obesity prevalence in adolescents: A simulation-based study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this