Why People Bully: Bullies And Victims Obsessed With Losing Weight

About one in every five students reports bullying, cites the National Center for Educational Statistics. The biggest taunts are related to physical appearance, and a new study shows that bullying is mostly centered around an obsession with weight.

ReadChildhood Bullying Risks: Victims More Likely To Become Overweight Young Adults, Study Claims

Researchers in the United Kingdom screened 2,800 secondary schools kids for bullying activity and narrowed the pool down to 800 who were involved in some way, either as a bully or victim. Their thoughts, behaviors, self-esteem, body image and emotional well being were then studied in terms of eating and exercise.

They found that 42 percent of bullies and 55 percent of their victims were preoccupied with weight loss. Approximately 57 percent of teens who are both bullies and victims were obsessed with dropping a few pounds. This is quite a difference as only 35 percent of those who have no relationship with bullying reported an extreme desire to lose weight.

girl-1610955_1920 Bullying is a widespread problem and linked to focus on looks. Pixabay

The results were determined after teens completed already established questionnaires including Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults, and the eating behaviours component of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment, reports MedicalXpress.

The scientists believe bullies pick on others because of their own obsession with being attractive, strong and fit.

"Bullies are bi-strategic—they want to be popular by being dominant through bullying but also want to look good,” says study co-author Professor Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, in a statement. "In contrast those who are bullied, the victims, are occupied with weight because they have poor body and self-esteem and are emotionally stressed and hope that looking good might make them feel better.

ReadBullies And Their Victims At An Increased Risk Of Developing Psychiatric Disorders

In the United States, bullying is a widespread problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, victims are likelier to be depressed, anxious, have difficulty sleeping and poor school performance. Those who do the bullying are prone to substance abuse, academic problems and being violent adults.

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