Obese children are more likely to be bullied regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, social skills or academic achievement.
Those are the findings of the study "Weight status as a predictor of being bullied in third through sixth grades," which is available online now and will be published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics. Julie C. Lumeng, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, is lead author of the study.
Childhood obesity and bullying are both pervasive public health problems. Obesity among children in the United States has risen to epidemic proportions with 17 percent of 6 to 11 year olds estimated to be obese between 2003 and 2006. In addition, parents of obese children rate bullying as their top health concern and past studies have shown that obese children who are bullied experience more depression anxiety and loneliness.
The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between childhood obesity and being bullied in third, fifth, and sixth grades. While studies on bullying and obesity in children have been conducted before, none had controlled for factors such as socioeconomic status, race, social skills and academic achievement.
Further, this study is unique in that it specifically looks at the age range when bullying peaks – ages 6 to 9.
Researchers studied 821 children who were participating in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. These children were recruited at birth in 10 study sites around the country.
Researchers evaluated the relationship between the child's weight status and the odds of being bullied as reported by the child, mother, and teacher. The study accounted for grade level in school, gender, race, family income-to-needs ratio, racial and socioeconomic composition of the school, and child social skills and academic achievement as reported by mothers and teachers.
Researchers found that obese children had higher odds of being bullied no matter their gender, race, family socioeconomic status, school demographic profile, social skills or academic achievement.
Authors conclude that being obese, by itself, increases the likelihood of being a victim of bullying. Interventions to address bullying in schools are badly needed, Lumeng adds.
"Physicians who care for obese children should consider the role that being bullied is playing in the child's well-being," Lumeng says. "Because perceptions of children are connected to broader societal perceptions about body type, it is important to fashion messages aimed at reducing the premium placed on thinness and the negative stereotypes that are associated with being obese or overweight."
While the study did not look into interventions to address bullying in this population, the hope is that these results could prove useful in doing so, Lumeng says.
Additional authors: Patrick Forrest, B.S., of the University of Michigan; Danielle P. Appugliese, M.P.H., of the Boston University School of Public Health; Niko Kaciroti, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan; Robert Corwyn, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas in Little Rock; and Robert Bradley, Ph.D., of the Arizona State University.
Funding source paragraph: This work was supported in part by the American Heart Association Mid-west Affiliate Grant-in-Aid 0750206Z to Dr. Lumeng.
Patents/conflict disclosures: None
Journal reference: DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-0774
Margarita Bauza | EurekAlert!
WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences