Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bullying keeps overweight kids off the field

24.04.2006


Playground taunts may seem like harmless child’s play, but bullying may keep overweight children on the sidelines, making it more difficult for them to shed pounds, University of Florida researchers say.



Most kids are bullied at some point in their lives, but overweight children are more often the targets of bullies’ slings and arrows. Now a new UF study reveals this frequently leads them to avoid situations where they have been picked on before, such as gym class and sports. The findings appear this month in the online edition of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

About one out of every five children is chronically bullied, said Eric Storch, Ph.D., a UF assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at UF’s College of Medicine and the study’s lead author. Aside from causing its victims to avoid events where they might be teased, bullying also is linked to depression and loneliness.


Either way, bullying spells serious trouble for children’s health, Storch said. Negative attitudes toward exercise can last a lifetime, making it more difficult for overweight children to lose weight and making it easier for them to become obese adults, he added.

"We found that as rates of peer victimization among overweight kids went up, rates of physical activity went down," he said.

"When you speak to overweight kids, one of the things you often hear is just this," he added. "Kids are targeting them. Kids are picking on them. You’re going to end up avoiding those types of situations. The problem clinically is if kids are avoiding PE class or playing sports because of fears of negative peer relationships, their health status is affected."

Storch and researchers from pediatrics, psychiatry and the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions studied 100 overweight or at-risk-for-being-overweight children between the ages of 8 and 18 to find out how bullying affected their exercise. Several measures were used to assess how much of a problem bullying was for children and determine whether they were exhibiting signs of depression, anxiety or even behavioral problems as a result.

About one-quarter of the children reported significant problems with bullies during the two weeks preceding the study. The researchers also found links between bullying and depression, loneliness and anxiety, further explaining why their physical activity rates were low.

Bullying not only contributes to children avoiding situations where they could be subject to ridicule, such as sports or gym class, but also can lead to depressed feelings that keep children from wanting to take part in activities.

"When you think about it, it makes intuitive sense, when you consider the hallmark signs of depression - sadness, fatigue, lack of interest in things you used to like," Storch said. "When kids are having a tough time with peers, and struggling with depression, then this can translate to reduced rates of physical activity."

Teasing and the stigma of adolescent obesity can have a big effect on children, said Mitch Prinstein, an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"The kids in this study spanned a wide age range, but it’s important to remember that at the onset of adolescence, peers become the most important social factor," he said. "How kids are viewed by their peers affects how they view themselves as they transition into adulthood."

But bullying is just one of the issues that affects how much exercise an overweight child gets. For example, positive support from family and friends can lessen the blows bullies inflict, and some parents insist their children exercise at home when they don’t at school, Storch said.

The best thing parents, teachers and doctors can do is to figure out what is causing the problem and find a way to work around it so overweight children still get exercise, he said.

Schools should create a zero-tolerance culture for bullying and perhaps provide gym teachers with training on how to recognize bullying and intervene, the researchers say.

Doctors should keep peer problems in mind when assessing overweight children and take not only a medical history of the child but also a social history, so they can pinpoint the underlying problem and devise a solution, Storch said.

It’s important to prevent the problem early before it gets worse, he added.

"Childhood is a time when we form many of our habits that we’re going to hold over later," he said. "When one has multiple negative experiences that are centered around sports early on, this can often translate into adulthood with decreased involvement (in exercise)."

April Frawley Birdwell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vpha.health.ufl.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>