The preschool years may be a critical period for child obesity onset; however, literature examining obesity risk factors to date has largely focused on school-aged children. Several links have been made between maternal depression and childhood obesity risks; however, other types of maternal psychopathology have been widely neglected. The aim of the present review was to systematically identify articles that examined relationships between maternal psychopathology variables, including depressive and anxiety symptoms, self-esteem and body dissatisfaction, and risks for pre-schooler obesity, including weight outcomes, physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels, and nutrition/diet variables. Twenty articles meeting review criteria were identified. Results showed positive associations between maternal depressive symptoms and increased risks for pre-schooler obesity in the majority of studies. Results were inconsistent depending on the time at which depression was measured (i.e., antenatal, postnatal, in isolation or longitudinally). Anxiety and body dissatisfaction were only measured in single studies; however, both were linked to pre-schooler obesity risks; self-esteem was not measured by any studies. We concluded that maternal depressive symptoms are important to consider when assessing risks for obesity in preschool-aged children; however, more research is needed examining the impact of other facets of maternal psychopathology on obesity risk in pre-schoolers.
- Maternal depression
- Maternal psychopathology