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Overweight Children More Likely to be Bullied

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/19/2011 6:00 PM   :  47 comments   :  11,065 Views

When I was young, I had some run-ins at school with bullies.  It was very hard at the time, and I remember going home every afternoon for a while, crying to my mom about it.  Lucky for me, it didn't last long, and I didn't grow up at a time where kids could be bullied in so many different ways- at school, on Facebook or through other social media outlets. 

Bullying is such a serious issue these days that many kids feel the need to fit in so that they don't stand out from the rest.   For some, it's important to look like all of their friends (not too heavy, not too thin), get grades like their friends (not too high, not too low) and have the same extracurricular interests.  I can't imagine being under that kind of pressure.  A recent study shows that children who are overweight are not only more likely to have health issues later in life, but are also more likely to be bullied.

The study, presented the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Primary Care, looked at a sample of over 8,000 9-year olds from Ireland's National Longitudinal Study of Children.   Children completed surveys at school and were also interviewed at home with their families.  Researchers found that overweight or obese children were more likely to be bullied and more likely to have chronic health issues that follow them into adulthood.

Honestly, these results aren't surprising.  I guess the bigger question is how we get children to accept differences in each other instead of making them feel bad that they don't look or act like everyone else.  How do we teach children to love their bodies no matter how they look, when they get conflicting messages at school, in the media and everywhere else they turn? 

Have you or your children had experiences with bullying, particularly because of weight issues?  How did you handle that?


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Comments

  • 47
    I was always a chubby kid but I was never bullied. Neither parents nor teachers would have put up with that. In fact there were some kids who were outsiders for a variety of reasons but there was always a push from the adults to include them in activities both at school and after school. Any bullying would have elicited swift punishment.

    My own kids were bullied in our neighbourhood to the point that we chose to move. When I was trying to talk to the parents of the bullies I could see where the behaviour came from. It wasn't worth it so we moved and have had no bullying problems since (15 years later). - 7/24/2011   10:01:54 AM
  • 46
    YES ... I was an overweight teen and I was teased beyond belief, but not "bullied" as my stature and size & strength level made people fera me some, tho I never ever hurt a fly back then. When I came home upset about the teasing time & time again, Mom then took me to a doctor who gave my 15 yr old self diet pills. We are talking 1970 here ... SO they were 30mg Dexadrine ... and 2 per day were prescribed. I did NOT realize exactly what these were for over a yr. I did lose 50 lfs in 6 months, but there were underlying problems w/ that. Long story short here: It created a monster. Once I couldn't get the diet pills prescribed, I went to using street speed for a LOT of yrs, like over 20. I finally quit and gained all the weight and more. Up & down weight ride ever since but I FEEL BETTER. So this is what psychological abuse did to me in high school! - 7/24/2011   8:37:18 AM
  • GRSMITH80
    45
    This really didn't need a study. I was an overweight child and literally ran home daily to avoid beatings crom a specific bully. When i had children i swore i would teach them not to bully and to be tolerant of everyone's differences and to be honezt, i think i've suceeded fairly welbeczuse they stand up for bullied children and are really popular girls despite one being what some would consider "too skinny" and the other two sporting a healhy, normal figure. I taught my children well but you can't always plan for everything. When my oldest daughter started school she was being picked on by a 13 year old boy. I told her to just ignore him thinking it would soon end, for those of you thinking that is the solution to tnis problem allow me to enkighten you! Fast forward 2 years to when my daughter is 7 and the boy is barely 16. He has started twisting her nair and puling it on the bus. I cal the parents hoping to solve the issue. They promise it wont happen again. They were right. The next step was him twisting my daughter's nipples! I call theschool who promises to deal with it. Two weeks later my daughter is held to her seat while he pulls her skirt over her head, pulls her panties aside and rapes her while she screams for the bus driver to help, who responds that she shssld"shut up im trying to drive?" The boy received a two week suspension from school and i filed police chargesbecause the school still allowed him to be unsupervised around my child. We picked up the pieces as best we could and moved on and alowed the court systems to do their jobs. Its not always something that will just sort itseellf out.......... dont turn a blind eye!
    - 7/24/2011   8:35:56 AM
  • 44
    I am 67 years old. I was overweight as a 1 year old . As a preemie I had a lot of health problems. My parents took me to specialists and a children's hospital to deal with these concerns. My huge weigh gain was much more worrisome to my parents than to the doctors who said it was baby fat and I would out grow it. My mom was careful about my diet but I was still very heavy before I ever went to school. I was teased about my weight. I can't say it was just bullies as pretty most everyone teased me at some time. The names, fatty, fatso animal sounds as I went past (moo, and pig grunts), And the most humiliating was the chant "Tubby tubby two by four couldn't get through the bathroom door. so she did it on the floor licked it up and did some more." Was I naturally shy. I don't think so but that was what I became. Afraid to walk in the cafeteria, have to sit in the narrow seats in the auditorium, the desks that had the attached seats that were to tight for me to sit in. Squeezing my over sized body into a space that was unyielding and often tearing a square corner rip on the metal corner under the desk surface. Never dated in high school or college. Rarely went out with the small group of girls who were and are still my friends. I was asked for a date once in high school and turned him down because it was a set up for him and his friends to make fun of me. I went to the prom with my parents who were chaperones. My mother made most of my clothes and of course my prom dress as stores like Lane Bryant had not even been thought of. In college I was given the title of biggest (fattest) girl on campus. When I walked past the boys dorms I tried to go fast as there were often some that would moo, or pig grunt, or yell other things at me. Easy to become paranoid that everyone you hear laugh is laughing at you. It has taken many years to accept the fact that I am not the center of everyone's scrutiny when I am out. If they are laughing, it is not at me and if they are it is their personality flaw. I can be comfortable with who I am as a person. My weight does not define my essence. In response to those who feel it is lazy or negligent parents shoveling fast food at their children, I feel this is overly simplistic. There is research going on and it shows that there are many factors that play a role weight gain, loss and maintenance.
    - 7/23/2011   9:44:43 PM
  • 43
    I was bullied for being overweight from grade school through high school. It had a profound effect on me in many, many ways. It affects me still. Was a study necessary?
    Not really. I knew it all along.... What we should focus on is how to stop it. Feels like brokering peace in the middle east. - 7/21/2011   8:59:38 PM
  • 42
    No, bullying of any kind is not OK and should never be tolerated! I am of the age where I remember that obesity was rare when I was in high school. As a high school teacher, a greater percentage of kids I work with are obese and socially thriving-sadly, it is becoming the new norm. - 7/21/2011   1:11:03 PM
  • THOMAS1968
    41
    I used to get bullied a lot as a child because I was slightly overweight. There was a group of kids in grade school who would wait for me on my way home and throw rocks at me. The principal said he was concerned about it but nothing changed until I finally beat one of them senseless with my skateboard. There were no consequences for me and I was pretty much left alone until middle school. - 7/21/2011   10:23:47 AM
  • 40
    I was overweight from the time I started kindergarten and I was bullied. I just skimmed through the responses here and I am dismayed that people don't think bullying is devastating to a child or that it is a significant issue. I know what it did to me--it made me become very timid and shy. I stayed away from people because these boys would sing the "Here comes the bride, big, fat and wide" song to me on the playground and get a lot of others to laugh. I stayed away from others because it even started happening to me at home--and my brother changed my name to Yugosylvia, ha ha ha. I stayed away from my parents because they did it too. I found refuge in books and food, and I continued my life with my friends for way into my adult life. I started out as a somewhat overweight child, but I didn't realize it until the other kids started tormenting me and to this day, I can see their faces and I can remember who they were and what they did. If I had the nerve to try and play circle ball, they would hit the ball out of my hands so that I had to go chase it all over the playground. I became a top-notch student, gifted actually, but that wasn't enough to make a difference.

    And now?? Let's see, kids who are bullied have picked up guns or other weapons of violence and they go after the kids who did the bullying and they also shoot a few dozen of other kids who really weren't the problem. On a more personal level, these bullies threaten kids to "kick their @$$ after school and totally make them panic stricken with fear of a public beating. These kids become nervous and anxious, with little to no way to manage these feelings becaue they are afraid it will be worse if they tell an adult.

    Don't believe for a minute that it is being talked about too much, Don't believe for a minute that it doesn't do a lot of damage to the child being bullied. Don't believe for a minute that the bullies aren't in serious need of some help to eliminate their need to overpower others in one way or another. Bullying causes permanent damage and bullying requires swift action by caring adults. Serious adults need to provide care for the bullies and for the bullied. - 7/21/2011   1:53:33 AM
  • 39
    I was always thin, so was never bullied. My son who was a bit of an overweight teen, had lots of friends, and was never bullied about his weight at all. I know that it occurs, and children can be so cruel. It may be all in the way they are raised. - 7/20/2011   11:02:39 PM
  • VANANDEL
    38
    I never was bullied in school, but there were definitely a lot of people who did not like my twin sister and me because we were overweight. When my twin lost a lot of weight in middle school, suddenly she became very popular. She was the same person, just smaller in size! This experience had a profound effect on my twin - she has remained very skinny since then. Gaining weight for her is just something she cannot do. - 7/20/2011   10:29:38 PM
  • 37
    There are at least two sides to this.
    Stop bullying kids and adults.
    Start good nutrition for overweight kids via parents. - 7/20/2011   5:16:45 PM
  • GMAGEE
    36
    My youngest sister was 'chubby' as a child even though her diet was no different than her older siblings. My mother took her to doctors to see if she had thyroid problems, etc., and they said things like 'she's 'big boned.' Back in the late 50s-early 60s, no child was 'obese'. That said, she was mercilessly and horribly bullied all through school for being overweight, while I was bullied for I don't know what! Sometimes it was so bad I refused to go to school. Fat or thin, tall or short, curly-haired or blue-eyed - some people are bullies and some people get bullied. - 7/20/2011   5:16:14 PM
  • ELECTRALYTE
    35
    When I was in school (I'm 61) I remember ONE fat kid. She was one of my best friends. We were all aware that she was overweight and unhappy about it. I don't remember anyone being mean to her.
    Now, sadly the "fat" kid is no longer a minority.
    I was bullied as a kid for being new at school. I think the bully is usually the one with problems at home. - 7/20/2011   3:30:10 PM
  • 34
    my youngest child was had learning difficulties, and as he got older it only got worse. I kept trying to be the advocate he needed, constantly fighting the school and by 4th grade, him and i had enough. he came home talking about suicide, and i got him the help he needed without the school's help. not only the mental health help, but i signed him up with sylvan for extra reading help. it turned out he he had a 6th grade oral vocab, but actually a 1st grade reading level. he struggled for the next few years in the public school system, he was bullied, picked on and would come home every day crying. finally i took him out of school, and we found a great on-line charter school, that he went on to not only graduate, but also succeed! - 7/20/2011   2:48:06 PM
  • 33
    I was picked on a lot in school - I was taller than all the other kids, and I was much heavier. To make it worse, I was also very painfully shy. I was fat joke fodder. I worry about my daughter (6) and though she seems to be getting along just fine in school (I'm hoping she'll be outgoing and friendly like her dad), I don't want her to be the bully or the bullied. I just teach her what's right and what's wrong, and hope that she takes it to heart. - 7/20/2011   11:37:51 AM
  • 32
    Sorry folks, I am going to disagree here. I don't believe it is because they are fat. I believe it is because of lack of self esteem, which may lead to some who are fat, but growing up, my best friend was fat, she was never bullied. She was popular and everyone loved her. (she still is fat and everyone still loves her). But she loved herself, so she was confident. I on the other hand was skinny, and bullied to no end, until she became my friend. My kids are in a very large high school, and the popular kids are fat, skinny, tall, short, cute, ugly, straight, gay, it is about confidence and of course MONEY! The ones bullied are fat, skinny, tall, short, cute, ugly, straight, gay - get my drift!!! - 7/20/2011   11:21:05 AM
  • 31
    when i was twelve, a difficult year anyway, i was sent out as liaison to open relations with my to paternal grandmothers. i spend one half of the summer with each and there ensued a cooking war. well...coming from a home where my mother, god rest her soul, burned water, i was ecstatic. being such a good child (cough) i ate every thing put in front of me (too true). i went out weighing one hundred and eleven pounds. i went home weighing one hundred and sixty eight. my parents walked right past me at the airport. i mean right past me, within inches and didn't recognize me. fortunately for salvation of milligrams of my self esteem, my best friend recognized me and only hesitated for a moment before giving me a hug. that started my battle of the bulge and yeah nothing is crueler that kids. - 7/20/2011   11:01:17 AM
  • 30
    I actually almost laughed when I read the title of this entry. Was a study really required to find out what everyone who ever went to school already knows?
    I spent my entire school life being bullied for being fat, being incredibly smart, being different, and eventually it spread to include the fact that I never once cared about 'fitting in' with them (This seemed to be a huge problem with them. I suppose because they expected me to grovel at their feet to try and be deemed worthy to hang out with them so they could make fun of me some more, and I never did it. People that got their jollies off of belittling others were not worth my time, even when I was young). But I have to say.. a lot of this bullying nonsense could be stopped at home. I work in an area that has a -lot- of children, and the interaction I see is just horrible sometimes. Parents (Not all, don't get me wrong. Just most of them) these days let their kids walk all over them. Who is supposed to be the one in charge here? They whine, they complain, they demand.. and parents give into their every whim, fight their every battle, and reward them for absolutely nothing. If parents would stand up to their own kids, maybe they wouldn't be so used to getting their own way and addicted to some feeling of power by ordering others around. That's just a recipe to become a bully. - 7/20/2011   10:59:42 AM
  • 29
    I was bullied as a child and called fat but looking at my pictures I wasnt even fat!! I was an early developer , I was also quiet, shy and self concisious which made me a target, but I learned early in life to stand up for myself ,, in seventh grade a girl who was built like an amazon was the class bully and a very troubled child, she got mad at me for something , she shook her finger in my face and just an automatic reaction I grabbed her finger and bent it as far back as it would go, she ran away crying and trying to tell the teacher about it but knowing it was me who did it he looked the other way because he knew what this girl was capable of, she never bothered me again after that . Parents these days though do need to teach their children manners, Kids speak their mind on what they see but should be taught tact. - 7/20/2011   10:59:03 AM
  • 28
    Fat kids are bullied?! NO WAY?! Instead of doing a "study," I bet we could poll just about anyone we know and ask them, "which kid is most likely to get picked on at school?" and they'll tell you, "the fat one." Come on now. I'm just irritated by this because a study of this nature glosses over what causes bullying, what causes obesity, what causes kids to be mean and nasty little brats and what causes other kids not to stand up for themselves and others.

    Let me say something else before I end this rant. Fat adults are also the most likely to be bullied later on in life. Passed over for jobs, relationships, dating, snide comments from co-workers, family members, friends. Is this really something that needs a study?

    Why aren't we focusing on how to end, prevent and deal with the consequences of bullying, as the article here states? - 7/20/2011   10:54:19 AM
  • 27
    I really don't think anyone needed a study to learn that the "fat kid" gets picked on in school.
    And not all kids are overweight because of their parents. Some kids are "born obese" or at least born larger than average. I am the oldest of 5 girls. Only one of us was "chubby" as a child. My sister's birth weight was 10 lbs 2 oz. She was a chubby baby, a chubby toddler, a chubby preschooler, kid, teen and now obese adult. She NEVER weighed "average" weight. My mother used to berate her, make snide comments, deny her desert, give her smaller portions than the rest of us. All this did was set up a chubby kid to develop a full blown eating disorder. Maybe she would have grown out of her chubbiness, or maybe her natural weight is just a little "fluffier" than the rest of us. She's gorgeous BTW, but she doesn't know it thanks to a mother who wanted to make sure none of her "five children were "fat" kids". Something for moms out there to keep in mind.

    As far as bullying goes, yeah bullys suck. I was bullied for being smart and weird. I hear a lot about bullying nowadays. Cyber bullies, kids killing themselves because of bullies, etc. I ask myself if there is really more bullying going around than when I was a kid, I can't see how that's possible. So what's changed? I think part of it is that we have spent so much time as parents trying to improve our children's self-esteem, codling them, making sure that every kid gets a trophy and fighting their battles for them... that we're raising a bunch of wussies. Parents have a responsibility to teach their kids how to stick up for themselves. My son is three, he's just going to start preschool next month. We have already taught him that we don't hit our friends and to be nice and to share. If ANYONE hit him, including me, his response is to say firmly "NO! Don't hit, be nice to S***." If they keep picking on him he is to tell his teacher. In a couple of years when he's old enough to distinguish between self-defense and starting a fight, I intend to teach him to hit back, only harder. I think it's BS that our kids are expected to take a beating and not defend themselves. Violence is wrong, but I sure as hell don't plan to raise a victim.

    - 7/20/2011   10:24:43 AM
  • 26
    I honestly am very sick of hearing about bullying. Kids have always been mean to those different from them... today is no exception. Sure, there are a plethora of avenues for bullying now, but perhaps that should be a sign that parents shouldn't allow young children to have Facebook or other social media accounts!! This protects them from bullying, predators and exposure to inappropriate subject matters. I am baffled by parents who allow their children unrestricted internet access. What happened to monitoring what your children are exposed to?? And why do we treat young children like such fragile things that, when they do encounter bullying at school, they are completely devastated by it?? We're so keen to protect our children from ANY hurt or harm that we forget that sometimes those little failures and hurts TEACH us important lessons. I'm not saying that extreme bullying should occur or be tolerated, but we need to recognize that kids can just be mean - and it doesn't matter if you're overweight. There are MANY reasons children get bullied, and they all boil down to being different. And perhaps our kids need to develop a thicker skin. After all, they aren't going to be adored and pampered by every person in their lives. What happened to "sticks and stones" and other adages that taught us to rise above mean words?? - 7/20/2011   10:13:40 AM
  • 2DIETORNOT2DIET
    25
    yes I was bullied but in my mind they were the ones with the problem, it made them feel better about themself to pick on someone about something so they could feel powerful, I would just laugh and go on my merry way. - 7/20/2011   9:58:26 AM
  • 24
    I was bulled too, but it was more money and smarts. I wanted to learn. It was more money than weight, but I was always bigger and taller than everyone else. Standing up to them made a big difference - 7/20/2011   9:29:16 AM
  • 23
    I agree with Siryn. I was never overweight in school, but I was bullied plenty for not being a great dresser, a bit backward, and an overachiever. Weight is just one of many things that kids will pick on each other for. Furthermore, being an overweight child doesn't automatically mean that you sit around all day eating Doritos in front of the TV. Some children have medical conditions that attribute to their weight, genetics play a role, and some kids have weight to lose but haven't learned how to do it yet, depending on how old they are and what their home environment is. Bullies don't care WHY a child is fat, they just attack anyway. Parents need to be aware of the example they set for their children - both how to live a healthy lifestyle and why we need to be respectful of those who are different from us. - 7/20/2011   9:27:37 AM
  • 22
    Jibbie49 I tink your argument for why your children won't have to worry about being bullied is flawed. I started getting bullied when I was in fourth grade and it went all the way until my sophmore year of high school. During that whole time I was never overweight. The only supposed "crime" that I had committed was not being rich enough to shop at places other than kmart, not having parents who would pack lunches for me that included chips & sweets, and I didn't, here is the worst crime I ever committed I should probably receive the death penalty for it, I got better grades than the people who bullied me! Great way to prevent bullying is as parents we need to watch how we interact with others especially when children are present. Remeber that children learn based on what they see. If they see mommy and daddy putting each other or others down than they see it as an acceptable behavior. - 7/20/2011   8:52:44 AM
  • KAKIPOPUP
    21
    And as parents, we also need to watch how we talk about other people's business (weight, appearance, sexual orientation and whatever) - meanness is meanness and it is contagious. - 7/20/2011   6:16:03 AM
  • 20
    I was picked on mercilessly in Junior High. It was mainly for being overweight but also for being too smart. (I wish I were that "fat" again.) I was raised to ignore bullies and did until one I just snapped. The girl behind kept knocking my purse off my chair. After the tenth time, I told her if she did it again, I would punch her in the face. I guess she didn't believe me because she did it again and I punched her in the face. I would never recommend resorting to violence with my own child but the one thing that I noticed is that NO ONE ever bothered me again. They might have said things behind my back but never where I could hear it. The irony of the whole situation was the same girl ended up behind me in 12th grade English and she actually apologized to me and we became friends. - 7/20/2011   4:39:08 AM
  • 19
    Controlling bullying would be possible if:

    1) Parents/Guardians tell children that teasing or hurting other children is wrong or use the buzzword: "inappropriate behavior" that won't be tolerated. Plus parents should not be defensive if another parent informs them that their child is a bully.

    2) School administrators and teachers should tell kids on day one there's a zero tolerance for bullying, and reinforce it with verbal warnings/suspensions

    3) More children would stand up for the one being bullied so that the bully would back down (I saw this on John Quinones' show: What Would You Do).

    I was the nice chubby kid who was bullied in elementary by the kids that as adults, no one would want them as neighbors. I'm shocked that they try to reach out to me on Facebook. Thank goodness for that 'block sender' feature. My son is bullied too by kids but I keep his confidence level up and have brought the matter to the attention of school administrators.
    - 7/20/2011   1:59:02 AM
  • 18
    I was picked on for being fat when I was at a normal weight.
    I was picked on for being smart, just because I got good grades and was in honors classes by people that were supposed to be my friends.
    I was picked on for being weird because I didn't conform to their standards, listened to off the wall music, read "intellectual" books and wrote poetry.
    Guys would ask me out as a joke or on a dare.
    I never felt like I was good enough for anyone. I hated myself. I had no self esteem. I resorted to binge and purging, starvation, and self injury to cope with the hurt these people were inflicting on me. I kept my head held high though, and I never let them see that they hurt me.

    I spent years in an abusive relationship because my self esteem was destroyed, and I didn't think I deserved anything better.

    I have come a long way - it has taken a lot of years, but I am slowly getting there.

    And as a side note - one of my biggest bullies (head cheerleader home coming queen) has a wider backside than I do now. - 7/20/2011   1:41:57 AM
  • G_E_MOMMA
    17
    When I look at pictures from my childhood, I don't think I was overweight. The bullying started before the weight. Kids pick on other kids for many reasons, but weight is definitely one of them. My family all saw that I was being bullied and even my own parents never did a single thing to stop it. They never separated me from those kids. Never talked to the parents of other kids. Just watched it happen. Now that I have kids of my own who are getting to that age, I am a totally different style of parent. Nobody hurts my kids! - 7/20/2011   12:42:43 AM
  • 16
    I was bullied mercilessly for my weight (and other issues--ADHD, being too tall for a girl, being too smart) as a child. I was beaten up. People threw trash and rotten food at me, and put it in my school bag and locker. In biology class, in 9th grade we had to dissect a variety of animals, and I would find frog guts, etc. in my books and hair. And yet in spite of all that what made me feel the worst was my parents and grandparents calling me cow, and pig, and horse. . .my grandmother hiding the candy dish whenever she saw me coming, and my father putting a weight chart on the bathroom wall, and making me weigh in every day. . . and I wasn't even that fat when all this was happening! When I was 12, I was 5'8," big boned, and weighed 170 pounds. Today, 163 pounds would put my BMI in the normal range, and I'm still 5'8. So, in reality, I was about 7 pounds overweight when this emotional abuse from my parents and grandparents was occurring. That's it. Seven lousy pounds. The issue was that I came from a family of short, petite women. I was like a mutant to them, and nobody seemed to understand that when you're big-boned you can carry more weight. On some level, I'm absolutely convinced that my family thought they were doing what was best for me. But no matter how awful my peers were to me, it hurts worse when it's coming from people who are supposed to love you. So all of you parents with overweight kids, please remember that. - 7/19/2011   11:29:38 PM
  • DETERMINDCHICKY
    15
    When my children point out that someone is different, I usually smile and say yes you are right. They are different. God makes everyone different. I am glad you were able to observe the difference but it is not your responsibility to point it out to them or anyone else and it certainly isn't good manners. Then I drop it. My kids are not bullies. And when they see someone else being bullied, they step up and let the bullies know that the person can't help that they are different and they do not deserve or need to be picked on for something that they can not control. - 7/19/2011   11:10:50 PM
  • 14
    I disagree that it is parental neglect for your child to be overweight. There are a ton of other issues involved. My children are both given very healthy meals for the majority of the time and one is overweight and the other is not. metabolisms are different bone sizes are different and their bodies are different. You can take twin babies and feed them the same and at the same time and one may weigh more than the other. I work with a girl that if she lost to what the public deems is her ideal weight she would not look right at all due to her height and bone structure. My youngest who is overweight by most people's standards is very big boned and extremely muscular which was proven when she did swim team both this year and last year!!! Bully is a problem because children are taught by their parents, media, friends that if you are different ie. overweight, extremely bright, too tall, the list goes on and on that it is okay to be mean because they are not like you. My daughter has never been bullied. She is a bright, very active young girl. My children have been taught to respect others. End of Story. - 7/19/2011   10:31:25 PM
  • 13
    Ya know, the questions at the end of the blog focus on whether or not any of us were bullied (or our kids were) due to our weight and how we handled it. I am more concerned about the question at the end of the last paragraph,
    "How do we teach children to love their bodies no matter how they look, when they get conflicting messages at school, in the media and everywhere else they turn?"
    The more important question is "How do we teach children to love their bodies no matter how they look and to NOT target their 'friends' and peers because of how they look, when the media, society and the 'adult' world in general target the obese based on how they look?"
    When movies that take pot shots at the obese and make jokes at their expense (remember 'Shallow Hal'?) are no longer being made, seen, discussed or 'money-makers' maybe we can help our children (and ourselves) work on their self-image, self-esteem and self-worth....based on WHO they are, instead of HOW they look.
    Just a thought. - 7/19/2011   10:22:41 PM
  • 12
    @ Aepsmith........(first comment) I am one of three girls in my family and the only one who had a weight problem. We were all raised the same, fed the same, encouraged to exercise (we all swam competitively) but I was the only fat one. When I look back at toddler pictures my sister is rail thin......I am not. I was always larger....not fat as a baby but bigger all over. Please. please don't blame all parents for their children's weight. I will agree that most are fed too many inappropriate foods but I think some are destined to fight weight. My best friend had her daughter in dance and swimming from the time she was small. Offered her healthful, balanced meals and she was still overweight. She even started a TOPS chapter in her town....she and her daughter both attended.

    We do need to teach our children compassion. Bullying is often learned at home watching how parents treat others but not always. - 7/19/2011   10:00:48 PM
  • 11
    Children will always be bullied because the way they were raised and by what they see on tv.. in magazines.. through friends... It's a never ending battle. Sad but true. Media portrays what's sexy, what's healthy, what's okay and what isn't okay. It's very sad. In order for a child who is 'different' to be accepted, media and the public eye needs to change their opinion. People are so judgmental.. it's disgusting.

    I was always over weight and I was always made fun of for it. Plus, on top of that, I started my cycle when I was in the 4th...yes 4th... grade. I was 9 years old!!! Try being a 9 year old who has to deal with puberty already.. while being overweight.. while trying to avoid gym class like the plague...

    And in middle/high school I was only asked out on dates because the guy was dared... or bribed or something.. It's disgusting. I almost don't want kids just because I know what it's like to be hurt constantly. But I'm not going to let that stop me. It's all in how you raise them........... - 7/19/2011   9:54:53 PM
  • COMINGBACKTOME
    10
    To me, this is not news. I was not an overweight child, but I remember the kids who were overweight getting mocked and bullied all the time. I was taller and bigger than most girls my age when I got to middle school - that's when I started getting teased for being 'fat'. You get teased enough, you start to believe it. I gave up sports that I loved because I was tired of getting bullied.

    My own family had really high metabolisms, so they could eat whatever they wanted and never gained weight. I did not inherit this, so I got a lot of "Do you REALLY think you should be eating that" or other comments about my food - which in my case led to eating shame and having to hide the evidence when I ate.

    I know I won't be perfect if I ever have my own children, but I would like to teach them moderate eating and definitely encourage physical activity. As for bullying, I applaud the anti-bullying campaigns and zero tolerance policies. For cyber-bullying, I believe in parental screening and heavily monitored time on the internet. My friends who do this with their own children have not been sorry and the kids appreciate the limits (if only to be able to whine "My mom won't let me" when they really don't want to do it in the first place.) - 7/19/2011   9:51:24 PM
  • DANBUDDY
    9
    Kids get bullied for all sorts of reasons. Kids are mean. When I was a kid the fat kids, poor kids, kids with glasses, or kids no good at sports. I don't fat kids are more likely to get bullied because of the rising number of fat kids. - 7/19/2011   9:36:43 PM
  • 8
    This is why I'm finding ways to promote healthy lifestyles in my 5th grade classroom this coming year. I have a blog entry that has some of the ideas, if you're interested. Add, too, if you wish! - 7/19/2011   9:00:18 PM
  • QUILTINANDI1
    7
    Honestly, the biggest bullies were my own family - 7/19/2011   8:49:31 PM
  • 6
    "I made sure that none of my five children were "fat" kids, so they didn't need to worry about being bullied."

    Jibbie49, there are MANY reasons why kids get bullied. Just because your kid is not fat does not mean they will not be bullied. - 7/19/2011   8:39:48 PM
  • 5
    I made sure that none of my five children were "fat" kids, so they didn't need to worry about being bullied. I nursed my first four as studies show that that is a major factor in getting a child off to a normal weight range. Then I avoided giving them junk food & letting them sit in front of the TV. I read an article that said at age 3 if a child is fat, s/he will likely be a fat school age child. I had a trampoline in the back yard that my children played on for hours & a swingset, etc. plus I took them to the pool. Obesity is a life-long battle if you're a fat child and I didn't want that for my children. - 7/19/2011   7:07:17 PM
  • 4
    Are you serious? They actually had to conduct a STUDY to come to this conclusion?!?!? Obviously these researchers were never children. You know how adults can teach children to be kind and loving? By walking the walk. Kids don't come up with this stuff by themselves. They learn by what they see and what they hear. - 7/19/2011   7:03:18 PM
  • 3
    Having been bullied through my entire school time, I can say that it's ALL about dealing with how society acts toward and considers fat (yes, I said fat) people, and kids specifically. Kids act out what their parents or other adults (or random aliens, kids, teen stars and other assorted creatures) in tv etc. show them.
    Being fat is just about the only PC thing to make fun of these days. That is NOT ok. It's time to deal with this.
    If nothing else, what do you think will encourage someone to make the choices that are better for them, being bullied and chased and yelled at, or having friends they can talk to? - 7/19/2011   6:45:55 PM
  • 2
    No, we SHOULD look at how children treat each other..and at society at large that makes it okay to treat the overweight and obese as objects of ridicule.

    And in some cases yes, maybe the parents are buying the processed crap..because let's face it - in the short term at least it IS cheaper. And in cases where you have to stretch a budget so far... well, I can sympathize!

    Also, even if the parents are buying healthy food -- once kids leave our homes they are not under our direct supervision. Children have been known to "trade" lunches or parts of them... and I know of one case where a friend's SCHOOL gives sweets to children as rewards -- nevermind her son CAN'T have that stuff because sugar causes him to go into meltdowns of epic proportions.

    As for me, YES, I was bullied relentlessly in middle school for being overweight. As a result I am super-overprotective of my children -- especially my son whom I could see being a target of bullies -- not because of his weight, he's super thin, but because he's autistic and "different". Thankfully the children of his class are much more tolerant. (And the schools have a ZERO tolerance policy towards bullying.) - 7/19/2011   6:23:31 PM
  • 1
    I think instead of looking at how children are treating each other, we should be looking at the parents of the children. It is no shocker that overweight children will get bullied more than others. Being that everyone knows that, it is a bit of parental neglect to allow your child to be overweight. Children aren't born obese. Children dont pack their own lunches or do their own grocery shopping. Children dont drive themselves to fast food places. As parents we need to do more to protect our children from bullying, yes, but it starts at home, not at school. - 7/19/2011   6:09:36 PM

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