Young children who are considered overweight when they are four and five years old are at a higher risk of having social problems and suffering from bullying and teasing as they get older, according to a study out of the University of Adelaide, Australia. Researchers followed over 3,300 children and found that those who were overweight as preschool children were later described by their parents and teachers as having emotional and social difficulties in the primary school years.
The study found that by the time these children were eight and nine years of age, they were 20% more likely to be isolated, teased and bullied by their peers. The study’s authors suggest that the stigma of being overweight could lead children to withdraw from social activities.
This study leads some experts to conclude that weight issues should be addressed from an early age for thesake of a child’s physical health, as well as their emotional and social well-being.