Study Examines Teasing's Impact on Overweight Kids
Children who are made fun of for being overweight may carry deep psychological scars because of it, according to The Boston Globe. A new Yale University study "found that overweight and obese children who are subjected to verbal taunts and physical bullying are substantially more prone during childhood to suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, and high blood pressure than their peers," the Globe reports.
University of Florida researchers reported last year that such bullying may actually make it harder for children to shed weight by making them uncomfortable about exercise. "The problem clinically is if kids are avoiding PE class or playing sports because of fears of negative peer relationships, their health status is affected,” said Eric Storch, a University of Florida assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the university's College of Medicine. UF researchers recommended that schools create a zero-tolerance culture for bullying and consider providing gym teachers with training on how to recognize bullying and intervene.