public health, mental health, obesity, body image

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Obesity, body image, and depression are all biopsychosocial phenomena that are frequently misunderstood across cultures. Body dissatisfaction is a psychological aspect of obesity that has been associated with disordered eating, low self-esteem, and depression. Nevertheless, body image dissatisfaction may affect non-obese individuals too. Those with a positive body image are more likely to participate in physical activity than those with a negative body image. Individuals who are satisfied with their body image are more likely to possess high self-esteem, confidence, and healthy eating habits. Obesity prevention among the black population is increasingly important. This study sought to examine the perceptions and experiences of British-born Afro-Caribbean male students at a West Yorkshire University in England regarding obesity, body image, and mental health. Twelve participants took part in 45-minute semi-structured interviews. The data was transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results revealed four major themes: "healthy lifestyle monitoring," "body image attitude," "experiences of attempting to maintain weight," and "reasons for weight change." Clinically obese individuals exhibited dissatisfaction with their body image. Depression was found to be strongly related to dissatisfaction with one's body image. Obesity is stigmatized and associated with low self-esteem in many societies in the United Kingdom, which impacts mental health. Future health promotion programs should teach obese individuals who are dissatisfied with their body image to deal with emotions like shame, guilt, and pride. Furthermore, individuals should adopt healthier eating habits and increase their physical activity, which is a broad strategy to reduce the incidence of obesity.