The etiology of adult obesity is still poorly understood. It has been shown
that over-weight children suffer from adverse psychological events, but less
is known about the association of adverse psychological factors among normal
weight children and adult obesity. Aim: The aim of this study was to examine if
the exposure of perception of being bullied during childhood could be
associated with development of adult obesity. Methods: Adult, same-sexed twin
pairs discordant for BMI were identified from the Danish Twin Registry. The
twins underwent an interview and a physical examination. Data were analyzed by
means of a growth-curve model and an intra-pair comparison. This design controls
for other influences of early life and socio economic status and is
therefore a powerful tool to study independent effects of specific exposures.
Results: In total 236 (81.7%) of the twin individuals identified participated
in the study. Participants who reported having been bullied in school, had
attained a BMI which was on average 1.4 kg/m2 (95% CI = 0.2; 2.5,
p = 0.02) higher than those not bullied. Two other questions on specific types
of bullying resulted in BMI that were 1.1 kg/m2 (CI = 0.1; 2.2, p =
0.03) and 1.9 kg/m2 (CI = 0.7; 3.1, p = 0.002) larger than subjects
who had not been exposed to bullying. There was a direct association between
intra pair differences in BMI and exposure to bullying. Conclusion: The results
of the study could indicate that being bullied during childhood seems be
associated with adult obesity.
Cite this paper
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