Anyone who has ever attended school in America knows this is true — the surprise is that it’s “news,” but on the other hand if it serves as a reminder to parents and schools that serving up processed junk food to children is a very bad thing, then so be it.
For kids, a few extra pounds may invite trouble from the schoolyard bully.
New research suggests that just being overweight increases the risk of being bullied. And factors that usually play a role in the risk of being bullied, such as gender, race and family income levels, don’t seem to matter if you’re overweight — being overweight or obese trumps all those other factors when it comes to aggressive behavior from other children.
The study found that being overweight increased the risk of being the target of bullying by 63 percent.
“One of the reasons we started this study is that obesity is so much more common today. Now that about half of kids are overweight or obese, it doesn’t make you such an outlier anymore, so we thought maybe kids wouldn’t be bullied for being overweight anymore,” said study author Dr. Julie Lumeng, an assistant research scientist at the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She added that the researchers also hoped they might be able to find some protective factors against being bullied, such as doing well in school.
“What we found, much to our dismay, was that nothing seemed to matter. If you were obese, you were more likely to be bullied, no matter what,” she said.
Results of the study will be published in the June issue of Pediatrics, but were released online May 3…
[continues at U.S. News & World Report]