Weight is the most common reason why children are bullied in school—more common than bullying because of race, gender, religion, or disability. Students of any body size and shape can be bullied or teased about their weight, but youth affected by obesity are particularly vulnerable. Educators often make negative assumptions about the personality, hygiene, and family life of students at a heavier weight. These harmful stereotypes can lead educators to have lower academic, physical, and social expectations that affect students’ school performance and the general school climate.
Although schools are increasingly addressing the problem of bullying, anti-bullying policies don’t always include body weight as a focus for bullying prevention. Parents can help protect children from this form of bullying. We’ve developed tools to help you:
- -recognize if your child is experiencing weight bias at school
- -talk with your child about weight bias
- -work with teachers to prevent or stop weight-based bullying
Consider sharing these resources with other parents and educators to help increase awareness of weight bias as a serious issue.
Did you know…
Even though peers are most often the sources of bullying and teasing, it is not uncommon for classroom and physical education teachers to stigmatize students at heavier weights.
Weight bias in youth is such a common problem that research has shown that a child’s body weight can predict the likelihood that he or she will be bullied in the future.
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