Promoting Self-esteem in Obese and Overweight Girls

PromotingSelf-esteem in Obese and Overweight Girls

Promotingself-esteem in overweight and obese girls

Thetitle of the article is appropriate as it highlights the problemunder study, which resonates well with the real state of affairs inthe society. Young girls are overcome by low self-esteem due to beingoverweight and obese. The study population is clearly defined asbeing the young girls in their preadolescent and adolescent stages oflife. The author of the article is Meaghan M. Eddy, published byWomen’s Healthcare, which is a clinical journal for nurses.


Theabstract summarizes all the main concepts that are discussed in thereport. First, the role of the nurse is appreciated. The author notesthat it is the responsibility of every nurse attending to overweightor obese people to encourage and help raise their self-esteem andhelp them to manage their weight by suggesting activities to helplose weight (Eddy, 2014). The nurse is also supposed to counsel thegirls and their parents to help raise their self-esteem.

Theabstract also highlights on how being overweight and obese affectsthe victims emotionally, their physical being as well as theirhealth. At this point, the author identifies the factors that canhelp raise self-esteem and how the society and maternal carecontributes towards the achievement of high self-esteem in younggirls.

Theproblem statement identifies a strong correlation between beingoverweight and obese and development of health complications likeorthopedic, pulmonary and endocrine disorders later in life.Overweight and obesity are also said to cause low self-esteem invictims. This consequently leads to anxiety, depression, poor eatinghabits, abuse of drugs and substances and victims get suicidal.

Thevictims of being overweight and obese are mostly young girls betweenthe ages of nine and twelve. This is the stage where the physicalactivity decreases, thus they start to gain weight. At this point,they also start eating unhealthy foods, which affects their weight.Girls at this age also start developing breasts as part of theirgrowth process, and they begin isolating themselves from physicalactivities thus making them gain weight rapidly.

Accordingto the article, low self-esteem is not only caused by beingoverweight and obese but also caused by bullying at school, parentalharassment, family stress and being brought up in an unstableenvironment (Eddy, 2014). Low self-esteem is not a contributor toobesity but is rather borne from it. The ideal way in whichself-esteem in victims can be raised is by having authoritativeparenting, proper and conducive environment at school, having areligious affiliation and family closeness.

Societaland maternal factors also affect the levels of self-esteem in youngwomen. According to the Eddy, a girl who is close to the mother morelikely to have high self-esteem especially if the mother has apositive image of herself she will instill these values to herdaughter. During this era, the media has a lot of influence on thegirls because it portrays beauty as having a slender body. For thisreason, slender women are termed as beautiful.

Inaddition, race and ethnicity are said to contribute to thispropagation of distorted information regarding the definition ofbeauty. Ideally, not all races are affected by problems of beingoverweight or obese and lack of self-esteem. For instance, theAfrican American woman is not affected by weight like the Caucasianwoman. This is because the African American woman is curvy, this istermed as beauty, and hence, their children are not affected by thelack of self-esteem in most cases. On the other hand, the Caucasiangirls are adversely affected by their body image, and when a child isheavy weight, it affects her even mentally because she is subject toridicule from peers at school and in the neighborhood.


Self-esteemrefers to the ability of an individual to feel good about themselvesand to have a positive attitude towards their body image. The articleemphasizes that the best way to help young girls raise theirself-esteem is by creating self-awareness in them by ages 8-9 (Eddy,2014). Taking a therapeutic approach on them so that they can handleadolescence with a higher level of maturity. They should be taught onhaving a positive attitude towards their body, exercise and eatinghabits instead of only teaching them to lose weight. This approachwill enable them take everything positively and therefore raisingtheir esteem. The author states clearly that if young children arebombarded with the pressure to lose weight, it will affect them infuture because they are still very young and cannot handle it. Assuch, the matter should be taken with a lot of caution, and now thisis where the role of the nurse practitioner is emphasized. This isbecause nurses have the knowledge on how to handle their patients.


Beforerecommending any approach to curb overweight and obesity, the nurseshould take up their role to identify which program applies to whichpatient, as every individual is different from the other. The optionsvary from patient-centered, community programs and motivation. Afterscrutiny of the patients’ behavior, the nurse can recommend aprogram that is workable to the victims.


Thisapproach mainly works on older adolescents and mainly depends on thewill of the patient to change. For this approach to work, the nursemust identify the reason for low self-esteem and work around comingup with solutions to improve the situation. For younger adolescents,the nurse must involve the parent, however the author clearly statesthat this approach has not been proven to work on young patients. Thevictim is motivated and encouraged to have a positive image aboutthem.


Wilsonconducted a survey that identified that most schools address theissue of self-awareness and body image at the 5thgrade. The programs are meant for the young girls especially inpublic schools where they are less active. The students are involvedin activities that are fun, and there is no direct parentalinvolvement, however, the parents support outside the program is verycrucial in the study. The change from this program may not be notablefrom their weight but it helps change the attitude of the girls andraise their self-esteem. This approach is very appropriate becausenormally in the real world, the change has to come from within everyindividual and unless the individual decides to change then it cannotwork. Just as the author puts it, it is very applicable to oldergirls as well as the adults.

Femalespecific extra-curricular programs

Programssuch as the Girl Scouts of America, GoGirlGo, Loozit, Girl Scouts ofAmerica and the Memphis Girls Health Enrichment Multi- Site Studies(GEMS) are programs that have been set up to take care of specificneeds in young girls (Eddy, 2014). These programs according to theauthor work easily because they have a lower leader to participantratio. The activities engaged in such as summer camping and thelifelong scouting give forms for girls to come together and be taughtthereby leaving them feeling empowered at the end.

Theyare involved in fun activities as they learn how to have a positivebody image especially because the programs are non-competitive. Thegirls meet and they are guided on how to handle their esteem andweight. This program has been proven to work, and girls who havetaken part in it reported feeling good about themselves. The authoralso discusses a theory by Walker. It is called the theory ofintentionality. It states that for a program to work it has to betailored to suit the specific needs of a child and her inherentnature. This is very applicable to the topic of discussion.

Familydriven and community-wide programs

Thisis a program led by the family the parents lead by example and helpgive their children a positive image of their body and thereforeraising their self-esteem. Some of these programs include `let usmove` an initiative led by Mitchell Obama to teach parents on ways toprevent obesity in young children (Girl Scout Research Institute,2004). The parents are taught on pre-natal care, hygiene, and properbreastfeeding. The initiative addresses the problem by creatingsolutions from the parents. The parents are taught on healthy eatinghabits, and they are taught how to protect their children from mediaexposure.

Thegovernment has also set up websites to give guidance to parents andtheir girls and instill in them a positive mind about their bodies.The New York City girls had also come up with a program where theyhad set up posters showing girls from all ethnicities and body shapesand sizes saying, “ am a girl and I am beautiful the way I am”(Girl Scout Research Institute, 2004).

Thefamily based programs are meant to help parents know that they shouldonly speak positive words to their children regarding their bodyimages. The parents should also discuss the media images with theirchildren so that they do not affect them. Applauding children ontheir achievements is also a good way to help raise self-esteem inyoung girls. An initiative should also be taken to teach them abouthealthy eating and exercise.

Roleof the nurse

Accordingto the article, nurses normally have very little time with theirpatients. This prevents them from identifying cases of the low esteemin girls who are overweight or obese (Eddy, 2014). As such, theyshould create more time to be able identify these issues and investin the patients as it helps encourage them. They should trydiscovering the background of the patients, their financial or socialconstraints as well as their goals in life. The nurse should alsorefer the patients that need counseling to mental doctors. Creatingtime to talk to the patients and their parents will enable the nurseinstill a positive attitude in young girls towards their body imageand raise their esteem. Nurses have significant role in instilling apositive attitude and high self-esteem in young girls.


Theliterature review is up to date and based on primary sources in theform of responses from patients who are overweight or obese.Interviews have been conducted to decide on which program is fit forwhich patient. There is a very close connection between the role ofthe nurse practitioner and its impact on the overweight or obesegirls in the society. The nurse practitioner has to come in andintervene to inculcate values of self-love and appreciation in younggirls and their parents, and this will eventually lead to ageneration that is free from lack of self-esteem. The literaturereview lays a very solid foundation for the new study to show thatthe role of the nurse is very crucial in health promotion and more soin the overweight and obese population in the society. This wassupported by the fact that author uses a range of theories, fromother scholars on similar or related subjects. This gives the currentstudy a rich background, on which the author can refer to or buildon. However, the literature review does not summarize the knowledgeon the dependent and independent variables and the relationshipbetween them.

Conceptual/Theoretical Framework

Thekey concepts of the article are adequately conceptualized throughoutthe paper. The author describes a theory by O`Dea, who claimed thatthe best and most effective model would focus only on raisingself-esteem and a positive attitude towards health eating andphysical activities (O’Dea, 2006). He called for an intervention toraise awareness in children before they get to adolescence betweenages 8-9. The theory describes that most children gain weight duringtheir adolescence because at these age children experienceimmaturity, and therefore sensitization would work a great deal toimprove their esteem once they get to the ages of 9-12. The theorystates that at the age of 12-14 girls mature and their weightstabilizes (O’Dea, 2006).

Theauthor of the article also makes reference to another theory byPiaget`s who describes the developmental stages. He claims thatduring adolescence, girls do not understand the implications of beingoverweight or obese and its affect their later years of adulthoodPiaget. J, Inhelder. B (1973). This is reinforcement to O’Dea’stheory that the best approach would be an intervention to raiseself-esteem in young girls rather than emphasizing in weight loss andexercise alone. Therefore, the conceptual framework is veryappropriate to this discussion, and it is fully discussed. Thetheories clearly explain the occurrences of the rise in BMI and offersuggestions on ways through which the situation can be controlled.The two theories discussed are very applicable to the researchproblem.

Hypotheses/Research Questions

Theauthor of the article has not clearly articulated the researchhypothesis and research questions. These is no any hypothesizedconcepts neither does the study indicate an inquiry of the objectivesthrough a set of questions. However, he has clearly stated theobjective of the study, which is to discuss the consequences relatedto health in overweight and obese girls. The author also discussesthe factors that contribute to the risk of low self-esteem andfactors that can help prevent loss of self-esteem. The author alsoclearly states the role of the nurse practitioner in healthpromotion. All the issues that are discussed are consistent with theliterature review and the conceptual framework of the article.

Method/research design

Theauthor uses both qualitative and quantitative descriptions in thearticle. The qualitative design has been used to give a lead on atheory or hypothesis that needs to be proved. The author wants toshow that the nurse practitioner has a role to promote healthespecially in the overweight and obese population. However, thisdesign is subject to opinion and interpretation. It, therefore,requires a lot of thought to achieve accurate results. The best thingabout this design is that it is not subject to being replicated asauthors have to design their interpretation of the theory to betested. Therefore, the qualitative design cannot be mathematicallyproven.

Theauthor also uses quantitative research design where she describes theages mostly affected by the lack of self-esteem. The researchdescribes that young girls between the ages of 8-12 are the ones mostlikely to be affected by their body image mostly because at this agethey are inactive as such they start gaining weight. The author hasalso measured the BMIs of the victims and explained how they affectesteem as they rise. The author has made clear comparisons of theresearch design used to enable readers to interpret the results. Fromthe article, one can identify that it is true even in the society,most young girls are the ones affected by the lack of self-esteem dueto being overweight or obese.

Theauthor uses quantitative descriptions to show the BMIs of thepatients as well as their age group, and this helps to test thetheory behind the research. A qualitative approach is also appliedwhereby the author gives her opinion on the issue of the role of thenurse practitioner as well as the factors that can prevent lack ofself-esteem in the study population.

Populationand sample

Theauthor of the article clearly identifies the population of interestfor the study of young girls in their adolescence, their parents, andthe nurse practitioners. The sample is sufficiently described in thearticle. This gives the reader a clear understanding of the researchand one is also able to relate to the day to day society. The articlegives a clear outline of the population that is affected as well ashow the problem starts and finally how to overcome it.

Thesample size is however not adequate, and the author would haveexplored the issue of overweight and obesity across both males andfemales as well as the older generation. This is because the lack ofself-esteem affects both men and women in the society. Even olderpeople experience obesity and heavy weight problems. These peoplealso need help and if the health sector only focuses on young girls,the older women and men are neglected leaving them vulnerable with nopositive image about their body shapes. In the twenty-first century,even men are heavily affected by the media, and they want to gainmuscles like how an ideal man is portrayed by the media and they alsoneed to be guided on how to shun these negative thoughts.

Thenumber of data collection points, which is mostly among school goinggirls and nurse practitioners, is very appropriate. However, theresearcher should have conducted the study from a larger populationbecause the lack of self-esteem not only affects young girls but alsoolder generation both male and female.

Datacollection and measurement

Inthis study, the researcher was responsible for data collection,although there is no clear indication of the methods that he used togather the information. However, the article is a literature review,which means it must have been part of a wider study. I suppose themethods of data collection were indicated in the methodology of theoriginal study for the sake of validating the information used in thestudy.

Proceduresand data analysis

Thereare no clearly defined procedures regarding data collection andanalysis. This may dent the validity of the findings of the study,but as stated earlier, it could have been part of a wider study.However, it is important to include the procedure and analyticmeasures used in every research project.


Thefindings from the study have been adequately summarized using adescriptive presentation. She identifies that the BMI of young girlsrise as they approach their adolescent stage of development. In thatconnection, nurses have been portrayed as the best positioned toidentify signs of low self-esteem in their patients and to take itupon themselves to guide the victims on ways to overcome thechallenge and sensitize them on healthy eating habits and exercise.This is because if that is not done the patients may end updepressed, anxious, abusing drugs and even becoming suicidaleventually. The author finally gets a cause of the problem andsuggests ways on how to overcome it. The interpretation anddiscussion of the key findings of the study were done within thecontext of previous studies and the current study’s aims andobjectives. She also suggests how the role of the nurse is verysignificant in helping patients who are overweight or obese. Thefindings are generalizable and can be applied across all populationsmay it be male or female of all ages.


Theauthor clearly outlines that the article falls in the nursing field.She uses a language that is understandable to the reader. Theconcepts are logically outlined throughout the article. There is aclear understanding of the issue being addressed, and one is takenthrough the solutions of how they can be overcome. There is a clearflow of ideas throughout the paper, and this is very commendable. Theauthor is however biased on the female gender maybe because she is afemale and this makes her only focus on one gender.

Significanceof study

Theresearch problem is very crucial to the study because it an issuethat is becoming a public health concern, especially in the UnitedStates. The study contributes to the advancement of knowledge and thenursing field. It helps to prove that the nurse practitioner has amajor role in the promotion of health across all populations. Thestudy helps a nurse know that she should not only involve in clinicalactivities but should also dig deeper into a patient`s life so as toidentify those that have low self-esteem and then work on a plan tohelp them out of the situation.

Thestudy also helps the parents, teachers at school and the governmentsknow that they have a role to help young girls during theirpre-adolescence and adolescence stage. They have to protect them fromnegative media exposure as well as teach them about healthy eatinghabits and routine exercise so that they do not gain massive weightand end up becoming obese during these developmental stages.Therefore, the study is very valid and applicable in our daily lives.


Theconclusion of the article is very valid as it identifies that younggirls are affected by the lack of esteem when their BMI rises. Theauthor then concludes the research by identifying the fact that thenurse practitioner has a very significant role to play in promotinghealth especially in overweight and obese population. The authorconcludes the article by identifying a solution to the researchproblem, and this was very appropriate.


Eddy.M. M (2014). Promoting Self-esteem in Overweight and Obese Girls.Women’s Healthcare, November, 32-36.

GirlScout Research Institute (2004). Weighing in Helping Girls be HealthyToday, Heal by Tomorrow Research Review. New York, NY: Girl Scouts ofthe United States of America.

Piaget.J, Inhelder. B (1973) Memory and Intelligence. London UK: Routledgeand Kegan Paul.

O’Dea.J (2006). Self-Concept, Self-esteem and Body Weight in AdolescentFemales: A three year Longitudinal Study: J Health Psychol, 11(4),599-611.