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Obesity Bullies Children in Many Ways

One of the more unusual, and harmful, effects TV viewing has on children is teaching them how to become bullies. Unfortunately, these emotionally troubled kids may be taking out their frustrations on another health-challenged target: Their obese peers.

In a UK study of some 8,200 7-year-olds, obese children were 50 percent more likely to be bullied than classmates who maintained a normal weight. Even more alarming, children as young as 4-years-old have negative attitudes about obese kids, an attitude that takes shape during preschool, the lead researcher says.

These numbers will surprise you:

  • Obese boys were 54 percent more likely to be bullied than those maintaining a normal weight.
  • Obese girls were 34 percent more likely to be the target of bullying.
  • Thirty-six percent of obese boys were victimized by overt bullying, encompassing name-calling, intimidation or physical harm.
  • Of the obese boys surveyed, 14 percent of them became bullies too!

This study demonstrates the complexity of the obesity epidemic, a disease that harms the bodies and minds of children all over the world. If we don't take steps to nip this epidemic in the bud right now, folks, we'll be living the consequences for a very long time.

Archives of Disease in Childhood, Vol. 91, No. 2, February 2006: 121-125 Free Full Text Article

Yahoo News February 17, 2006

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