Bullying and Obesity

Regarding the study that just came out in Pediatrics, demonstrating that obese kids get bullied more than their peers: There’s something that wasn’t as widely publicized.

Fat Kids Also Become Bullies. When compared to their normal weight peers, the overweight children in the study were 6 times more likely to become bullies.

Humans are social animals.  Pack animals.  And the “Us vs Them” mentality is deeply programed in our primate heritage. Anything that makes you stand out from the group draws attention – how you deal with that attention will determine your social standing (or isolation).

Being fat definitely distinguishes a kid from his or her peers.  And makes them an easy target for bullying. If it’s handled with strength and confidence, the pack will (sometimes grudgingly) open its ranks, or at the very least, cease hostilities. If the bullying is met with weakness (fear, emotional instability, etc), the pack unites against the ‘outsider’.

A bullied child who doesn’t get proper guidance will make the obvious and primitive leap of reasoning that to get in with the pack, they’ve got to act like the pack. They’ll try to elevate themselves by trampling someone else. To paraphrase Newton, “Shit will continue to roll downhill unless acted upon by an outside force”.

Parents- that outside force is YOU.

Next Post: What you CAN do – positive action steps you can take immediately.

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