Association of victimization from bullying with body mass index in schoolchildren

Letícia Xander Russo About the author

Many schoolchildren report bullying by their classmates because of their physical appearance. Teenagers’ body weight is one of the main reasons for this victimization. The current study aims to investigate the association between victimization from bullying and body mass index (BMI) in Brazilian schoolchildren. This was a cross-sectional study using data from the Brazilian National School Health Survey (PeNSE) in 2015 for students from 11 to 15 years of age. The analysis used the Probit model. The probability of victimization from bullying was 46% in Brazilian schoolchildren in this age bracket. There was a significant non-linear association between BMI and bullying. Both underweight and overweight/obese schoolchildren were more likely to suffer bullying, compared to their peers with adequate weight for age. The association was found in both sexes, and the U-shaped curve was more accentuated in girls. Risk factors included feeling misunderstood by parents, dissatisfaction with one’s own body, and enrollment in public schools. Living with the mother, mother’s schooling, and a proxy for family income were neither risk factors nor protective factors for bullying. The results show that overweight/obese and underweight students should be considered a risk group for bullying.

Adolescent; Violence; Body Composition

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