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Being bullied during childhood and the risk of obesity in adulthood: A co-twin control study

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2012.412A220    3,603 Downloads   5,517 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Background: 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 lifestyle 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.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Vámosi, M. , Heitmann, B. , Thinggaard, M. and Kyvik, K. (2012) Being bullied during childhood and the risk of obesity in adulthood: A co-twin control study. Health, 4, 1537-1545. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.412A220.

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