Send to

Choose Destination
J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Apr;112(4):518-26. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2011.12.001.

Social position, psychological stress, and obesity: a systematic review.

Author information

Yerkes National Primate Center, Emory University, 2409 Taylor Lane, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, USA.


This review presents a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between social position and obesity, focusing on stress as a contributing factor. Through a systematic review of the literature, the studies that assess associations between social position, stress levels, dietary behaviors, and obesity risk in human beings were identified. Fourteen studies were retained based upon a priori inclusion/exclusion criteria. Across studies, individuals in higher status positions tended to have lower stress levels, healthier eating patterns, and lower body weight. Higher stress was associated with less healthy dietary behaviors and with higher body weight. These patterns were more pronounced in women than in men. The nature of the stress-eating-obesity relationship is complicated, and this literature must be developed further, because its advancement may be instrumental in identifying successful stress management techniques that can be used by food and nutrition practitioners to improve nutrition-related outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center