There’s an ongoing debate abut the relationship between genetics and obesity. Some people believe that being chubby is something passed from one generation to the next. Others think overweight children eat the same foods and practice the same unhealthy habits as their overweight parents. However, few people would dispute that heavy children are more likely to be teased in school.
Bullied for Being Overweight
These unfortunate children are often times ignored, because people don’t think you can be bullied for being fat. They’re much larger than the children their own age, so they may garner less sympathy. While overweight youngsters are less likely to experience physical violence they are subjected to cruel teasing and name calling. According to CNN, overweight kids are more likely to be bullied. Even children with superior social skills and excellent grades are bullied more than thinner children. The effects seem to be far worse on women than they are on men, because many young women go on to develop self-image issues.
Bullying and Bulimia
There is an issue with Hollywood and promoting unrealistic images in the media. However, the insensitive remarks made at a grade school lunch table can be just as devastating. In fact, most teens and pre-teens hold more stock in the opinions of their peers than TV spokes models. We already know that childhood bullying is associated with suicide, but it may also be associated with eating disorders. A child who’s bulled for being “ugly” or “short”, has little recourse, but an obese child can resort to drastic measures. It can be difficult to diagnose a child with a eating disorder, because the disorders may overlap.
According to Web MD, some children go from bulimia to anorexia in cycles. Because the young person shows no consistent signs, the parents are none the wiser. However, the primary sign of an eating disorder will be rapid weight change. If a child’s weight quickly increases or decreases, it could be the sign of an eating disorder. There are three eating disorders to which children most commonly fall pray, and it’s important to recognize the signs.
Anorexia is a condition in which a person refuses to intake proper calories. Anorexic children won’t “feel like eating” and only consume very small portions. This disease is usually the result of poor self image, but bullying is a possible factor. Words can be painful, even if the remarks aren’t being directed at the anorexic child.
Bulimia is a serious condition, consisting of binge eating and routine purging. The purging can be achieved via vomiting or even laxatives. The most common signs will be an nearly incessant appetite with no noticeable weight gain. Prolonged periods in the bathroom after every meal are reason for alarm. This is a serious disease which can become permanent if help isn’t sought soon enough.
This is similar to bulimia, but without the purging. The one obvious sign of binge eating is rapid weight gain. A child who suddenly eats twice as much usual, may be binge eating. The underlying cause of binge eating is cortisol production. This hormone is responsible fro mood eating, which leads to binging on food. Binge eaters consume food to pacify themselves when they feel stressed. The name-calling and teasing creates additional stress and more cortisol production. These children typically have parents who are overweight, and encourage the bad behavior.
There is no affirmative link between bullying and eating conditions. However, there is a definite connection between being chubby and being bullied. There’s also a connection between suicide and being bullied. Suicide is a drastic measure, which is a far more extreme means of escape than anorexia. A child who’s bullied for having freckles can’t resolve the issue with starvation. However, many overweight children turn to unhealthy eating habits as a way to avoid bullying. Unfortunately, starvation and purging are potentially life threatening and they aren’t limited to females.
Bulimia in Boys
According to Live Strong, genetics and chromosomes factor into bulimia. Therefore, boys are susceptible to the disease. Live Strong also stated peer pressure as a leading cause in teens developing eating disorders. However, bullying typically comes from peers, so it’s a form of peer pressure. John Hopkins Medicine confirms these findings, that social and genetic influences lead to eating disorders. Therefore, it’s plausible that young men and women with eating disorders saw this as an alternative to suicide. They drastically alter their body’s instead of suffer the ridicule and bullying. Unfortunately, obese children are still more likely to commit suicide.
According to Suicide.org, morbidly obese people are five times as likely to be depressed. This astonishing connection raises the question of which disease causes which. Depression and stress lead to mood eating which contributes to obesity. Are the obese individuals depressed because of their weight, or are the depressed individuals obese because they found a relationship with food? Binge eating leads to obesity, but the depression may have been pre-existing. Either way, obesity and depression are a dangerous combination, and it’s a proven fact that one can severely worsen the other. Depression can also lead to suicide when untreated, making obese people far more likely to take their own lives. However there’s another side-effect of bullying overweight children that many people never consider.
Next Generation’s Bullies
The stereotypical bully is physically imposing and overtly aggressive. However these “big kids” were once chubby children and teased about it. This is what happens when teachers turn a blind eye to “fat” child bullying. The child who was teased grows up to be bigger and angry about it. This child remembers those who caused the ridicule. Chabad.org confirms that most bullies were once the victims of bullying. One doesn’t have to be large to be a bully, but it helps to have a few pounds on the other children. Of the three ways a bullied child can lash out, this might be the most disturbing. Bullied children are more likely to commit suicide, and the overweight bully doesn’t usually spare anyone.
Kids who’re bullied about their weight in grade school can go on to wreak havoc in junior high school. Fighting them is asinine, and they can even torment their victims online. Most adults remember a school bully who was much larger than everyone else. However, few people reasoned that the big bully was once a bullying victim. This is why fat bullying has to be addressed and stopped. There are too many negative repercussions that can result from allowing it to continue. This person is also way more likely to be depressed, commit suicide or die early from natural causes.
Sympathy for Overweight Children
Most people feel chubby children deserve less sympathy, because their condition can be addressed. Unfortunately, the results are usually disastrous when the children address them alone. All children are timid by nature, regardless of their physical size. They have to be protected from ridicule, even if it isn’t physical abuse.The “harmless” pokes and prods of today, create the angry bullies of tomorrow. These young people are a danger to themselves and others. All too often, hefty children are left to fend for themselves until they want to hurt themselves or someone else.
It isn’t until something tragic happens that people pretend to be interested in bullying. Such is the case with Jorge Saavedra of Florida. The young man was bullied and defended himself with deadly force. According to the NY Daily News, Saavedra didn’t face criminal charges but the young man must deal with the guilt of taking a life. According to witnesses 15 y/o Dylan Nuno had been bullying Saavedra for more than a year before a bus stop fight ended in the young man’s tragic death. Perhaps Nuno was bullied about his size as a child. Recent surveys certainly suggest that it was possible, but no one can say for sure.
However it can be concluded that many “big” bullies are teased badly as chubby children. Perhaps bullying can be eliminated after this cruel behavior is addressed. .