Journal of Childhood Obesity Open Access

  • ISSN: 2572-5394
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Childhood Obesity and Bullying in Schools of Argentina: Analysis of This Behaviour in a Context of High Prevalence

Kovalskys I, Rausch Herscovici C, Indart Rougier P, Añez EV, Zonis LN and Orellana L

Background: Obese children are more exposed to bullying (B). This study aims to analyse such under-researched association among a sample of school-aged children in Argentina.

Methods: This case control study comprised 8 elementary public schools of the county of Morón, Province of Buenos Aires. In 2013, 740 children ages 9-10 completed a questionnaire evaluating type and role played in B. Five types of B were analysed: general, physical, verbal, relational, and cybernetic; analysed roles were victim and perpetrator. Height and weight were measured and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. The relation between bullying and BMI was studied using a general linear mixed model including BMI, gender, and height as fixed effects, and course as random effect.

Findings: Types of B analysed showed a significant association between BMI and physical B (OR-obesity: 2.1; p = 0.001 y OR-overweight: 1.7; p = 0.011), between obesity and verbal B (OR: 1.7; p = 0.010) and between obesity and relational B (OR: 1.7; p = 0.023). Boys reported suffering more physical B than girls (OR: 1.7; p = 0.005), and a tendency to be more often the perpetrators (OR: 1.5; p = 0.070).

Conclusions: Overweight and obese 9-10 year children of public schools of Argentine appear to be at significantly increased risk of bullying. Teachers, physical education instructors, and paediatricians should aim to address this behaviour when designing obesity prevention and treatment interventions.