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Pediatr Obes. 2016 Aug;11(4):241-50. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12051. Epub 2015 Jul 6.

Cross-national perspectives about weight-based bullying in youth: nature, extent and remedies.

Author information

1
Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, University of Connecticut, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
3
School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
4
Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
5
Division of Health Determinants, Directorate of Health, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

No cross-national studies have examined public perceptions about weight-based bullying in youth.

OBJECTIVES:

To conduct a multinational examination of public views about (i) the prevalence/seriousness of weight-based bullying in youth; (ii) the role of parents, educators, health providers and government in addressing this problem and (iii) implementing policy actions to reduce weight-based bullying.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional survey of adults in the United States, Canada, Iceland and Australia (N = 2866).

RESULTS:

Across all countries, weight-based bullying was identified as the most prevalent reason for youth bullying, by a substantial margin over other forms of bullying (race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion). Participants viewed parents and teachers as playing major roles in efforts to reduce weight-based bullying. Most participants across countries (77-94%) viewed healthcare providers to be important intervention agents. Participants (65-87%) supported government augmentation of anti-bullying laws to include prohibiting weight-based bullying. Women expressed higher agreement for policy actions than men, with no associations found for participants' race/ethnicity or weight. Causal beliefs about obesity were associated with policy support across countries.

CONCLUSIONS:

Across countries, strong recognition exists of weight-based bullying and the need to address it. These findings may inform policy-level actions and clinical practices concerning youth vulnerable to weight-based bullying.

KEYWORDS:

Bullying; obesity; policy; weight

PMID:
26149218
DOI:
10.1111/ijpo.12051
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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