ADVERTISEMENT

Heavy-Weighted Mobbing Leaves Scars Not Only On The Soul

Mobbing leaves scars not only on the soul. Children that are mobbed at school frequently become overweight.

The daily school routine can be merciless; children are equipped with a wide repertoire of bitchiness and cruelties when dealing with their peers. Many children are frequently attacked, hurt, bullied, isolated, or ridiculed. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly every tenth child becomes a victim of aggressive behaviors from their peers. Who is affected is often determined by chance. But the results of mobbing can be observed even years later. For instance, mobbed children have a higher risk of suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental diseases as adults.

ADVERTISEMENT

The somatic consequences of mobbing, instead, are far less well investigated. A study from King’s College London now shows that children who have experienced mobbing at school are frequently overweight. By 2015 the researchers had shown that children that grew up in the 1960s and were mobbed at that time were specifically often overweight at age 45 (1).

In their new study (2) ā€” published by the group led by Jessi Baldwin and Andrea Danese in the medical journal Psychosomatic MedicineĀ ā€” they wanted to know whether mobbing still exhibits a strong influence on body weight nowadays. Since the environment in which today’s children grow up has changed; unhealthy food is much more easily available, and children today are much less bodily active, as the scientists assumed. They also were interested to see how early an effect on weight might be seen.

For their investigation, the researchers followed more than 2,000 twins born in 1994 and 1995. At the ages of 7, 10, and 12 years, the twins, as well as their mothers, were questioned about any experienced mobbing. When the children were 18 years old, researchers calculated their body mass index (BMI) in addition to the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Not only is weight important for one’s health, but also where the fat has accumulated is important. The larger the WHR, the more fat is located at the belly, and this indicates a higher risk.

Through questioning, it became evident that 28% of children had experienced mobbing either in primary school or at higher school levels, and around 13% claimed having been mobbed at all levels. As the data show, these children have a much higher likelihood of being overweight later on. The strongest association was found in a group of children that were mobbed specifically frequently and long ā€” this led to obesity in 29% of cases. In children that were not mobbed at all, this was only 20 percent. Mobbed children had, furthermore, a higher BMI as well as a higher WHR when they were 18 years old.

ADVERTISEMENT

Now, one could speculate whether these children had already weight problems before, and this may have been the reason for their mobbing and isolation. However, the data underscore a different picture: Children that were mobbed were initially obese to the same degree than children that were not mobbed at all.

The scientist also wanted to test whether the social status or origin and children’s health had an influence on the results. By comparing the twin pairs with each other they could demonstrate that a genetic predisposition for obesity did not affect the mobbing risk at all. In fact, mobbed children frequently grew up in a difficult environment and often had psychological problems. These factors, however, seem not to be responsible for the mobbing or for the overweight. When these and other factors were (statistically) taken into consideration, the association between mobbing and weight gain persisted.

As Andrea Danese, one of the authors of the study, points out in a press release, the study shows that mobbed children are more likely to become obese, independent of their genetic risk. They hope that their study contributes to a better protection against mobbing, and this, they say, should start quite early in the life of children.

This is part 12 of a series covering twin health provided by Paul Enck from theĀ TĆ¼bingen University HospitalĀ and science writer Nicole Simon. Further studies in twin research can be found at TwinHealth website.

References:

ADVERTISEMENT
  1. Takizawa R, Danese A, Maughan B, Arseneault L. Bullying victimization in childhood predicts inflammation and obesity at mid-life: a five-decade birth cohort study. Psychol Med. 2015 Oct;45(13):2705-15.
  2. Baldwin JR, Arseneault L, Odgers C, Belsky DW, Matthews T, Ambler A, Caspi A,Ā  Moffitt TE, Danese A. Childhood Bullying Victimization and Overweight in Young Adulthood: A Cohort Study. Psychosom Med. 2016 Nov/Dec;78(9):1094-1103.

Comments

READ THIS NEXT

Conservative Ideology, Racial Resentment, & President Trump – An Interview With Dr. Hans Noel

At a time of political divisiveness and ideological battles, President Trump’s approval ratings have continued to decline since taking office. […]

Potential Probing Techniques For Future Energy Supply System-Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs)

Currently, a brand new worldwide consensus is gradually forming: hydrogen energy acts as an interactive link among a variety of […]

Recent Study Shows That Bacteria And Fungi In The Gut Of Babies Are Linked To Future Asthma Risk

What causes asthma? At a time when global rates of asthma have reached alarming rates, this important question remains unanswered. […]

Gas-vortex Bioreactor: Inspired By Nature, Approved By Science

Since scientists found the way to use microorganisms for synthesis or conversion of chemical compounds, bioreactors have been evolving from […]

Annihilation And Creation Of Relative Equilibria Around Minor Celestial Bodies

Relative equilibria of asteroids, comets, and satellites of planets are important dynamical characteristic around these minor celestial bodies. MostĀ minor celestial […]

Trump Administration Repeals Clean Power Plan and Reassigns Policy Experts

The Trump administration has made its feelings on environmental issues fairly clear ever since this last June when it decided […]

Straw Man Fallacy: Example Arguments

TheĀ straw man argument is an informal logical fallacy or rhetorical technique where someone creates a characterization of another person’s argument […]

Science Trends is a popular source of science news and education around the world. We cover everything from solar power cell technology to climate change to cancer research. We help hundreds of thousands of people every month learn about the world we live in and the latest scientific breakthroughs. Want to know more?