HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Orlando, Florida, USA or Virtually from your home or work.

3rd Edition of Global Conference on

Addiction Medicine, Behavioral Health and Psychiatry

October 24-26, 2022 | Orlando, Florida, USA

GAB 2021

Pediatric obesity, addiction and family dynamics Concept of co-obesity

Speaker at Addiction Medicine, Behavioral Health and Psychiatry 2021 - Anne Frederique Naviaux
Summerhill Community Mental Health Centre, Ireland
Title : Pediatric obesity, addiction and family dynamics Concept of co-obesity


Introduction: The obesity epidemic has been a crucial health concern over the past few decades. Multiple contributing factors have been identified at various levels: genetic, biological, environmental, social, economic etc. In many ways obesity presents some similarities with substance dependence and abuse. The term “co-dependency” originates from the realm of addiction. Co-dependency mechanisms can also appear between parents and children and enable obesity. Aim: This research features the concept of co-obesity within the paediatric population. It develops new ideas and ways of thinking about food and food system, including an integrative biopsychosocial model of parent-child co-dependencies in obesity. This work has quite a significant impact as it retraces 30 years of literature on the subject but also because the obesity epidemic is constantly expanding. Materials and Methods: Between January 2020 and May 2020, a literature search based on electronic bibliographic databases as well as other sources of information (grey literature) was conducted in order to investigate the most recent data on obesity, addiction and co-dependencies. Some clinical examples of these concepts applied to everyday life were chosen to illustrate how they are all linked together, especially in terms of familial co-obesity (between children and parents). Results: Many studies link obesity and addiction, even though, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) does not list obesity as a psychiatric disorder. Both obesity and addiction share a common neural basis and use the same reward pathways which has been described and studied through many works. Dopamine certainly plays an important part in that system. Pediatric obesity is particularly worrying but might offer an opportunity for intervention, and once tackled, reduce the severity of adult obesity. Working with children, means working with families, and investigating intrafamilial contributing dynamics. The concept of co-obesity emerged from the addiction model applied to pediatric obesity. Clinical examples illustrate an integrative biopsychosocial model of parent-child co-dependencies in obesity. Conclusion: Co-obesity often emerges from great altruism, tolerance towards inappropriate and maladaptive behaviours and emotions that are difficult to manage. A new and promising model of intervention is developed, based on addiction techniques (withdrawal/abstinence) associated to behavioral strategies (distraction, alternative behaviors, distress tolerance, trigger avoidance and stress lessening). Keywords: Pediatric Obesity; Addiction; Co-dependence and Co-dependency; Co-Obesity; Family Dynamics; Family Intervention.


Anne-Frederique Naviaux is a consultant Psychiatrist and Child Psychiatrist, who finished her Master in Psychiatry in 2004 (Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium). She worked in France as a ‘praticien hospitalier’ in Child Psychiatry and for the World Health Organization, before joining the research department in Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland) in 2011. She has been a lecturer in France (IFSI) since 2004 but has also joined the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland in 2012. She currently works for the Health Service Executive in Ireland as Head of Service in Summerhill Adult Mental Health Centre (Wexford) and as Clinical Lead for Liaison Psychiatry in Wexford General Hospital (WGH). Since 2016, she has been developing in collaboration with the Paediatric Team in WGH and University Hospital Waterford, an out of hour’s emergency service for young people with Mental Health Issues. She has published many articles and is part of several editorial boards. In 2020, AF Naviaux became a member of Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN) and a supervisor in the NIIMA group. She has a special interest in nutrition and eating disorders.