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Study: Childhood Bullying Leads To Greater Risk of Being Overweight As Young Adult

by John Gomez | Last Updated: November 29, 2016
Childhood Bullying

Childhood bullying is a serious problem both in the United States and around the world.  Bullying is also a constant presence in our society, even though some events tend to lead to a spike in its prevalence.  We are still learning about how childhood bullying occurs, why it occurs and the long-term effects of it on those who endure it.  Researchers in the United Kingdom recently released the results of a study that concludes that childhood bullying can lead to another long-term consequence: weight problems.  It seems that the more we study childhood bullying, the more we learn in terms of the type of harm it inflicts on its targets.  The children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys will continue to raise awareness to this growing problem.  Contact the firm as soon as possible if your child has been bullied and you are not getting the help you need.

About the Childhood Bullying Study

Researchers from King’s College in London published the study in Psychosomatic Magazine.  Those interested in reading the study can find it here.  The researchers analyzed data from something known as the E-Risk Longitudinal Twin Study.  This E-Risk study followed 2,232 children from their births in 1994 and 1995 until they reached the age of 18.  They reviewed reports of bullying from mothers of the children that were documented during their childhood school years.  The researchers then looked for any indicators of the children being overweight at the ages of 10 and 12.  They then completed full work-ups on the weights of the children who had been bullied when they turned 18.

The study found the following:

  • 28 percent of the children were bullied either in primary or secondary school.
  • 13 percent of the subjects were bullied both in primary school and in secondary school.
  • Children who had been bullied in both levels of school were 1.7 times more likely to be overweight as young adults as compared to children who were not bullied.
  • Bullying targets were not more likely to be overweight at the time that the bullying occurred as compared to those who were not bullied.
  • The data were adjusted to eliminate other possible causes of being overweight.

As such, the researchers concluded that there is a link between childhood bullying and weight problems in young adults.  This only adds to the growing list of problems that have been associated with childhood bullying in different forms in recent years.

Other Long-Term Problems Associated With Childhood Bullying

Childhood bullying has lasting effects on its victims.  That notion is becoming indisputable.  Below are just some of the problems that people have experienced after enduring childhood bullying:

  • Mental health problems in general
  • Depression
  • Night terrors and nightmares
  • Self-esteem problems
  • Legal problems
  • Interpersonal relationship difficulties

There are likely many more challenges that survivors of childhood bullying will face.  Unfortunately, and as stated above, the list is still growing.

Bullying Statistics

It also seems quite possible that the statistics relating to bullying are going to become more alarming as more people become aware of the problem and do something about it when it happens.  According to StopBullying.gov, the following statistics relate to bullying in the United States:

  • 28 percent of students between grades 6 and 12 have been bullied.
  • 20 percent of high school students in the United States have been bullied.
  • More than 70 percent of students have witnessed bullying.
  • More than 70 percent of school staff members have witnessed bullying.

In addition and perhaps most troubling, bullying victims are between 7 and 9 percent more likely than others to commit suicide.

Risks of Being Overweight

There are innumerable problems that are associated with being overweight.  Carrying too much weight on a frame can not only lead to immediate problems, but also to a much higher risk of long-term dangers that can even be deadly.  According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the following risks rise when someone is overweight:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer

To make matters worse, losing weight is incredibly difficult for some people, particularly if there is some underlying psychological damage that is contributing to this status.

Ideas for Handling Childhood Bullying

If you suspect that your child is being bullied, you need to take action as soon as possible.  Warning signs of childhood bullying include withdrawal from social settings, wanting to stay home from school sick often, falling grades and other signs that something is wrong.  Parents should immediately attempt to engage the child in a supportive but informative dialogue with that child in hopes that he or she will open up about what’s happening.

Unfortunately, several studies have shown that a majority of bullying cases are never reported to parents or other adult authority figures.  Therefore, you should not feel discouraged if your child does not want to talk about the situation.  Instead, you should continue with your effort towards resolving the situation.  You should consider the following steps:

  • Report the incident to school administrators if the bullying is occurring at school.
  • Report the problem to the school superintendent if the school does not act.
  • Find support groups who can help you proceed in different ways.
  • Contact law enforcement if any private information about your child is being shared publicly.

You should also make sure that you document anything and everything that has to do with the bullying problem.  For instance, write down dates that bullying has occurred, the names of the people you contacted, when you spoke to them, what you talked about and just about anything else that may be relevant to the situation.

How Children’s Rights Lawyers Can Help

One of the reasons that you should document as much as possible is that you may not get the help you need immediately.  If that’s the case, you need to seek the help of children’s rights lawyers who have been standing up for the rights of victims of childhood bullying for several years.  Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.


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