Researchers have recently begun to focus on how bullying can lead to weight gain. The result of the research indicates that emotional factors like stress and anxiety lead to children indulging in junk food. This serves as a source of temporary comfort and relief and is the leading cause of obesity in children. Let’s look at how bullying can lead to weight gain:
The Psychological and Emotional Effects of Bullying
While children are being bullied in school, they experience negative emotions and feelings like anger and depression. A child’s self-esteem also suffers as a result, and they try to find solace and comfort. This can lead to emotional eating.
Junk foods like donuts, ice cream, soft drinks, and French fries contain a significant number of unhealthy calories. These unhealthy calories lead to substantial weight gain in children. Moreover, these foods are addictive in nature. This makes it difficult for children to give up these foods, and they continue gaining weight. The worst part is that as children gain weight, they are bullied more.
Avoiding Outdoor Activities
As children start to face social pressure, they are more likely to seclude themselves from the world and stay indoors. This leads to limited physical activity, which itself is an additional cause of weight gain. Many children at this stage also begin to be plagued by fears such as being the last one to be chosen for games, as well as social un-compatibility and ridicule. Children begin to prefer spending more time at home.
As they confine themselves to their homes, children over-indulge in indoor activities. They begin to prefer video games and television over playing outdoors. This reluctance to play outdoors worsens the problem of children gaining weight due to bullying. The worst part is that children themselves become aware of the fact that they are overweight. They tend to feel helpless about it. In such cases, it is best to encourage children to exercise and engage in outdoor activities. If possible, children can even be educated about the positive effects of exercising outdoors.
Lack of Sleep
It may come as a surprise, but lack of sleep is a leading cause of obesity in children. Children should be educated to form proper sleep patterns. They should also be guided about the benefits of proper sleep.
If they are not sleeping properly or not sleeping at all, their metabolism is likely to get disturbed. Once the metabolism is disturbed, they will gain weight. When a child is the victim of bullying, he or she will be under constant stress. Not only children but also adults would find it difficult to sleep when they are under immense stress.
Almost all of the factors that tell you that bullying can lead to weight gain are related to stress. This is yet another reason why you should make an effort to ensure your children are not bullied.