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 Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>