Childhood bullying seems to have been around for a long time. Calling a peer dumb, ugly or criticizing their ethnicity or religion has been going on in schools and playgrounds for as long as Kenneth Griffin can remember. Although not having been on either the giving or receiving end of bullying myself, I have been witness to some degree of others and their participation or receipt of it, and frankly, it has gotten quite brutal.
With so much focus being placed on the world’s overweight and obese children and adults, it’s no wonder that being fat reigns in the most harassment from peers and even family members. Those who don’t struggle with weight issues have this misconception that everyone can be in control of their size and weight, which is just not true. While come obesity is caused by over-eating, usually due to some other underlying issues, many weight problems stem from genetics, metabolism changes and economic status.
Many states have anti-bullying laws that protect against persecution from religious beliefs, race and sexual orientation. But, you’d be hard pressed to find many that protect overweight people from being victimized. The University of Connecticut in Hartford’s Rebecca Puhl conducted a multi-national study on the bullying of overweight children. Of the 2,866 adults surveyed in the United States, Australia, Canada and Iceland, 70 percent see weight related bullying as a “serious” or “very serious” problem. A majority of those questioned agreed that awareness of the problem should be raised in schools and that stricter rules and enforcement needs to be seen. So, before you throw out that nasty comment to an overweight person, walk in their shoes a while.