Study finds that bullied children grow up to be obese

Study finds that bullied children grow up to be obese

A study done on adults aged 40-50, found that those who were bullied had a higher incidence of being obese later on in life.

A new study found that children who were bullied in school have double the risk of suffering from obesity later on in life.

Obesity and bullied children

Researchers at the King's College London studied 2000 adults that were part of a study back in the 1960s. They found that those who reported feeling victimized when they were younger were far more likely to be obese.

Dr Andrea Danese from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London, shares, "Bullying is commonly associated with mental health problems, but there is little research examining the physical health of bullied children."

Another author, Jessie Baldwin, adds, “Although we cannot definitively say that bullying victimization causes individuals to become overweight, ruling out alternative explanations – such as genetic liability – strengthens the likelihood that this is the case.”

"Interventions should start early in life"

Interestingly, the researchers were surprised to see that the figures were in no way related to other environmental factors such as, socioeconomic status, food poverty, child abuse, low IQ, and poor mental health, which are factors that are traditionally connected to obesity.

While the researchers still can't confirm that bullying makes people obese, they believe that there is a very strong connection between the two.

They add, "If the association is causal, preventing bullying could help to reduce the prevalence of overweight in the population."

"As well as preventing bullying, our findings emphasize the importance of supporting bullied children to prevent them from becoming overweight, which could include interventions aimed at promoting exercise and healthy eating."

"Our data suggest that such interventions should start early in life."

How do we keep our children fit and healthy?

While there are a number of factors that can directly contribute to whether a person will become obese or not, we still can take steps to ensure that our children are fit and healthy.

Here's a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Physical activity is a good start. If your child is a bit on the heavy side, or if you think they're gaining weight, you should start with encouraging them to engage in physical activity. They can go play sports with their friends to keep themselves fit.
  2. Change your family's diet. Sometimes, an unhealthy diet at home might be the culprit. Try and avoid buying junk food, and encourage healthy eating habits at home. Lead by example; if your children see you eating healthy, it will be good motivation for them.
  3. Make exercise fun! For a lot of people, exercise isn't something they always look forward to. However, by making it a fun activity, you can encourage your kids to be more active. Mix it up by playing games or giving them rewards if they finish an exercise.
  4. Turn being healthy it into a family activity. Being healthy shouldn't stop at your kids, if you feel that you and your partner are gaining weight, then you should think about getting yourselves back in shape. It's also a great bonding activity for the family.
  5. Spend less time watching TV. Watching TV can be a fun activity, but it also makes your family sedentary. Encourage being active by spending less time watching TV, and more time going outside or doing other productive activities.

Sources: globalnews.ca, dailymail.co.uk, webmd.com

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Written by

Nasreen Majid

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