“Weight Teasing and Bullying in Children:
Assessment, Prevalence and Comorbidities”
Brown bag lunch; light refreshments provided. Register for this free event by Friday, March 31.
Myles Faith, PhD
Professor and Associate Chair
Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology
University at Buffalo
This presentation addresses the emerging science of weight teasing and bullying (WTB) towards obese youth. WTB appears to be very common among obese children when looking to community- and clinic-based studies examining prevalence. Interestingly, WTB is much more common among obese youth than is high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. This talk also examines the challenges of assessing WTB among children, as well as gold-standard measurement tools in the field. A concern of WTB is its comorbidities: poorer body image, depression, suicidality, disordered eating and poorer academic performance. The issue of coping with WTB is also discussed, and how certain coping styles may help protect children against the detrimental effects of WTB. Finally, opportunities for new research are discussed. In sum, WTB may be dismissed by some parents, teachers or child health care providers (“sticks and stones may break your bones…”); however, the emerging data suggest the issue can be quite problematic for overweight youth.