Weight Bullying: Why no uproar?
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Two days ago I attended a truly shocking session at the Weight of the Nation meetings by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that highlighted bias issues and one presentation highlighted bullying. The session focused on the numerous studies that show weight is likely the leading cause of bullying and one study even showed that nearly 20 percent of girls who faced weight bullying attempted (not thought about, but actually attempted) suicide. I left this session alarmed to say the least and frankly quite angry that bullying was receiving so much attention, but weight bullying wasn’t even on the agenda.
As you are probably aware, numerous national, state and local efforts are being undertaken to address childhood bullying. Unfortunately, noticeably absent from many of these efforts is the issue of weight bullying. Such absence speaks volumes about how ingrained weight bias has become in our culture and society.
So as I mentioned above, my first reaction was anger. How can we be ignoring the need for weight bullying to be included in the overall bullying discussions? But after calming down, I reminded myself that the current focus on bullying gives us an opportunity, an opportunity to raise the issue and influence future programs on bullying. As such, I want to challenge each and every one of you who reads this blog to become an advocate against weight bullying. If your child is in a school and they are receiving bullying education, make sure you talk to the teacher and administrator and encourage them to include weight bullying in the conversation. If they won’t listen, go to the school board (as one such OAC member shared with me they planned to do). If you see a newspaper dedicate significant editorial space to the issue, write a letter to the editor emphasizing not forgetting about weight bullying. There are many more examples but simply put, if we don’t ask them to include the issue, they won’t. Not asking isn’t acceptable to me, our children deserve better – a world without the fear of bullying and definitely one where no child would consider taking their own life over the issue.
Making a Difference Together,