A new study has shown that obese children are more likely to be bullied regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, social skills or academic achievement.
A research team, led by Julie C. Lumeng, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, studied 821 children who were participating in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.
These children were recruited at birth in 10 study sites around the country.
The researchers evaluated the relationship between the child’s weight status and the odds of being bullied as reported by the child, mother, and teacher.
The study accounted for grade level in school, gender, race, family income-to-needs ratio, racial and socioeconomic composition of the school, and child social skills and academic achievement as reported by mothers and teachers.
The researchers found that obese children had higher odds of being bullied no matter their gender, race, family socioeconomic status, school demographic profile, social skills or academic achievement.
The authors concluded that being obese, by itself, increases the likelihood of being a victim of bullying. Interventions to address bullying in schools are badly needed, Lumeng added.
The study will be published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics.