Obesity, as per the CDC, effects 13.7 million children and adolescents in the age bracket of 12 to 19 years. About 18.5% of them are affected which throws light on the need for controlling the health risk and keeping it from staying a part of one’s life as a grownup as well. Unfortunately, the bullying and teasing regarding their size that children experience doesn’t motivate them.
In fact, it makes them pile on more pounds as they grow older according to a latest study. The reason? While this report doesn’t clarify the why of it all, previous ones indicate emotional or stressful eating to be the helm of this. In this regard, anti-bullying policies need to be implemented more seriously in schools.
What Did This Study Reveal?
Being overweight is tough, but for children it’s even tougher. This is because it is not uncommon for obese children to get bullied at school. And no, this teasing doesn’t motivate them to lose weight as some may believe. A study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity concludes that teasing overweight or obese children leads them to gain more weight well into adulthood.
This study was conducted by investigators at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. For the purpose of this research, 110 children with the average age of 12 were recruited. Either these kids were obese or overweight themselves or their parents were. With parents who were overweight, they were also at the risk of being obese or overweight later on.
These children were asked if they had been bullied with regards to their size. It was found that 62% of them had been teased for their weight minimum once while 21% had been reported they had definitely been. The kids were followed up with for up to 15 years or 8.5 years. It was noted that those who had been teased had put on 33% additional body mass on average.
In comparison to those who were not bullied about their weight, they had gained 91% more fat each year. Since this study was observational, the direct cause and effect couldn’t be pinpointed. Previous studies show that continuously being teased about one’s weight may lead a person to develop unhealthy eating habits.
Teasing has been shown to increase the stress hormone cortisol which can expand one’s appetite, and up the risk for developing anxiety and depression. What’s more, kids who are teased may also keep away from physician activities such as sports and the gym because they are bullied there for their weight.
Body-shaming is common, and it is also portrayed on television. This study also shows how common it is for children to get bullied or teased for their weight which means that schools need to concentrate more on developing anti-bullying policies. Parents also need to offer support to their children. Moreover, healthcare providers need to take notes too.