Obesity linked to bullying
Kids who feel unsafe at school because of bullying are more likely to be overweight or obese, concludes a team of researchers in Quebec, Canada. The scientists said they also found a correlation between chronic poverty, feeling unsafe at school and weight problems.
The researchers reviewed data provided by 1,234 students who had just entered secondary school in Quebec. They were asked about their feelings of safety, and whether they had been bullied in any way. Supplementary data was also reviewed that included their family background and health behaviors, as well as teacher interviews about the atmosphere of the school.
The research also suggested a “direct association between feeling safer and being less likely to be overweight or obese”. Students who felt safer at school also spent less time in front of screens.
The researchers conceded that the connection between feeling unsafe at school and obesity is a complex one. While a sense of "victimization" may help lead to obesity, the reverse--that kids are being bullied because they're overweight--can also be a factor that perpetutates the problem.
Another big factor, they said, is chronic poverty. Their research indicated that children who grow up with chronic poverty are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who don't experience poverty, even after taking into account weight-related behaviors.