Is bullying linked to obesity?

Is bullying linked to obesity?

New evidence-based research shows that three out of five obese children experience bullying, resulting in 12% of them missing school.

Professionals are arguing that the issue could be hindering the fight against childhood obesity – concerning, given that Ireland is on track to become the most overweight European nation.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Dr Samantha Doyle said the obesity issue among Irish children has become significant.

“All of the children at the clinic [at Temple Street Hospital] have a BMI greater than the 98th centile, which is how we measure obesity in children,” she said.

Depending on the gender and age of the child, the average weight of a child between 6 and 16 years old attending the clinic is between 75kg and 85kg. Among the older age group, the average weight is in excess of 100kg.

Mental health

Of the 111 children studied, 63% experienced bullying. In some cases, they had also not previously spoken of the incidents with their parents.

“I think the alarming statistic is that just under 50% of the children were bullied by their peers,” she said. “The rest of the bullying is happening at the hands of other adults. Children describe their neighbours saying mean things to them.”

Dr Doyle also said internationally, cyberbullying is becoming an issue.

Despite 33% of parents reporting mental health problems among their children, only half of them receive medical help.

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