Teasing for a few laughs may be convenient for you, the star of the conversation, but what about the other party? It’s all fun and games for one, but it may be too much to handle for the other.
Some may see it as a harmless joke, but it may be bullying for the person you are making fun of. The bottom line is that bullying doesn’t bring anything good and anyone’s misery is not tantamount to another’s enjoyment.
This is true across all ages. This was mirrored in a recent study that showed what happens when kids are being teased because of their weight, a vicious cycle that is oftentimes dismissed as a joke.
Little did perpetrators know that it results in something more than just hurting the children’s confidence and self-esteem, it also contributes to more weight gain.
As obvious, fat-shaming is never OK even when your intention is to encourage the person to change lifestyle. But, imagine bullying a child for his or her weight, it could be felt in ways more than we imagined.
According to a study in “Pediatric Obesity,” there is a link between teasing kids about their weight and the changes in their body mass index – the measurement of body fat relative to the height and weight of a person. To get your BMI, divide your weight (kg) by the square of your height (m), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A team from the Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver, of Child Health and Human Development, analyzed 110 children with an average age of 11.8 years old who are overweight or obese or at risk of becoming one.
Through a questionnaire, the kids were asked to share how frequent they encounter bullying or teasing about their weights, e.g. calling them suggestive names or making fun of their weight.
For an average of eight and a half years and some to 15 years, the children were annually followed up and the researchers found that 33 percent of those who were usually made fun of their weight gained in BMI and a 91-percent fat gain than others who didn’t experience being bullied for their weight. The study was observational, which meant a cause and effect couldn’t be directly proven.
Why the Weight Gain?
The team, therefore, predicted that the weight-related teasing might be the reason for the children to indulge in unhealthy habits such as binge-eating and refusing to exercise.
The institute also revealed that the stress from the bullying may have played a role because it releases cortisol, which may stimulate your appetite, that ultimately causes weight gain. Again, this is another proof that bullying and teasing don’t do any good.