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Obes Facts. 2011;4(6):469-72. doi: 10.1159/000335215. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Obesity as a determinant of two forms of bullying in Ontario youth: a short report.

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Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada.



Obesity can have negative effects in terms of stigma and discriminatory behavior. Past cross-sectional analyses have shown that overweight and obese youths are more likely to be involved in bullying. Here, we examine such relationships in a longitudinal analysis. Study outcomes were self-reports of: i) physical bullying victimization and perpetration and ii) relational bullying victimization and perpetration.


Participants were administered the Health Behaviour in School-Age Children Survey in 2006 and then again in 2007, and included 1,738 youths from 17 Ontario high schools. Relationships between adiposity and each of the four forms of bullying were evaluated using multi-level analyses.


Excess adiposity was shown to precede bullying involvement in this study. Obese and overweight males reported 2-fold increases in both physical and relational victimization, while obese females reported 3-fold increases in perpetration of relational bullying. Among those free of bullying at baseline (2006), significant increases in perpetration of relational bullying were reported by obese females in 2007 relative to normal-weight females (14.8 vs. 3.8% among normal-weight girls; p = 0.02).


Findings are congruent with previous cross-sectional studies and confirm that obese youths are at increased risk of social consequences attributable to their appearance.

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