Bullied Kids at Higher Risk of Adult Obesity
The known mental effects of childhood bullying are devastating enough, but now British pshycholigists have assessed the effect bullying has on the weight and physical health of victims.
The findings, published on Wednesday in the journal Psychological Medicine came from data by the British National Child Development Study. For the study, researchers collcted data on children born during one week in 1958 in the UK. For the 7,102 children, the data refelcted their exposure to bullying during the ages of 7 and 11. Researchers found 28 percent had been bullied occasionally, and 15 percent were bullied frequently. When the children were followed up with at age 45, their blood inflammation measures and obesity were recorded.
Researchers found that over a quarter of women who were bullied at some level were obese at age 45, compared to 19 percent of those who were never bullied. They also found that both men and women who were bullied as children had higher levels of fat around their mid-section, as well as higher levels of blood inflammation. For those who were frequently bullied, 20 percent of them had high levels of a C-reactive protein – which increased their risk of heart disease by raising the likelihood of clogged arteries.
The effects of bullying on overall health are slim compared to certain lifestyle changes such as consistent diet and exercise. But scientists say this new research suggests tackling both lifestyle choices and bullying, especially earlier in life, could have a more significant impact on overall health.