Core Behavior – Manage Stress

High levels of stress are common in our society. Demands from work and family may cause stress. There are added stress burdens in those who are living in poverty or are food insecure. Stress has been linked to overweight and obesity through multiple interactions. The stress hormone cortisol is secreted during times of stress. This hormone causes higher levels of insulin and can trigger overeating. Stress also interferes with cognitive processes including self-regulation. Stress also causes physiological changes that may be related to overweight and obesity, including changes to hunger and satiety hormones as well as changes to the gut microbiome. Studies have shown a relationship between stress and weight in children and adults. Managing stress through mindfulness, physical activity, or other means is an important part of addressing overweight and obesity.

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