A new study has shown that those bullied as children are likely to be obese adults.
The research which was published in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine studied over 2, 000 children in the United Kingdom who were born between 1994 and 1995.
The study spanned from the children’s birth till they were 18 years old which allowed the researchers to compare rates of becoming obese and overweight (via measurements of body mass index, or BMI) among children who reported being bullied and those who didn’t.
Researchers found that kids who had been bullied over a long period of time (during elementary and middle school), were 70 percent more likely to be overweight at age 18 than their counterparts who didn’t experience bullying.
Andrea Danese, doctor and senior author at King’s College London said: “bullying is commonly associated with mental health problems, but there is little research examining the physical health of bullied children”.
“Our study shows that bullied children are more likely to be overweight as young adults and that they become overweight independent of their genetic liability and after experiencing victimization,” she added.
Jesse Baldwin, the study’s lead author, however, said that while they could not “definitively say that bullying victimization causes individuals to become overweight”; she would work with her colleagues to further highlight the importance of protecting children from bullying.
“As well as preventing bullying, our findings emphasize the importance of supporting bullied children to prevent them from becoming overweight, which could include interventions aimed at promoting exercise and healthy eating.”
“Our data suggest that such interventions should start early in life,” Baldwin advised.
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