Overweight and bullied
We have been seeing in our primary school surveys a proportion of young people who think they are being picked on or bullied because of their size or weight. We don't usually ask this same question in the secondary surveys, but we do ask what are the pupil's height and weight, and from this we can identify overweight, obese and underweight young people.
We also ask these secondary school pupils if they are ever afraid to go to school because of bullying.
Here are some results from Year 8 males (aged 12-13y):
Do you ever feel afraid to go to school because of bullying? (At least sometimes)
Normal weight 24%
Sure enough, heavier pupils are more likely to be bullied. When we looked at older pupils and among results for girls, overweight and especially obese pupils were again more likely to fear bullying. We have known for a long while that the fear of bullying at school is associated with low self-esteem; it may be that the low self-esteem developed through living with extra weight in a culture obsessed with physical appearance can be a trigger for subsequent bullying.
Information about their pupils is given to the individual schools involved in our surveys through their own detailed results. Our latest figures show that we surveyed in over 400 schools in one year. We also provide summary reports. Examining these report reveals the wide range of behaviours measured in our surveys. The data from the surveys in the first instance belong to the schools. Typically the schools are supported by Primary Care Trusts and by Local Education Authorities.
Click here for recent figures about bullying.