Bullied kids have higher risk of adult obesity and heart disease

Tue May 19, 2015 7:04pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) - Victims of childhood bullying are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults and have a higher risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses, according to a study by British psychiatrists.

Researchers found that just over a quarter of women who were occasionally or frequently bullied as children were obese at age 45, compared to 19 percent of those who had never been bullied.

And both men and women who were bullied as children had higher levels of fat around their middle -- a known risk factor for heart disease.

"Bullying is bad for your physical health, whether you're a man or a woman," said Andrea Danese, who worked on the study at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London.

Louise Arseneault, who led the research, said its findings should remind teachers, parents and carers to think about the victims, not just worry about how to stop the bullies.

Bullying is characterized by repeated hurtful actions by other children, against which the victims find it difficult to defend themselves, she told reporters. Unfortunately, bullying was "part of growing up for many children", she said.

"We tend to neglect the victims and their suffering," she added. "(Yet) for some children, they will be marked for the rest of their lives."

Arseneault's findings, published on Wednesday in the journal Psychological Medicine, come from the British National Child Development Study which has data on all children born in England, Scotland and Wales during one week in 1958.   Continued...