Wednesday February 26, 2020

Research: Obese Adolescents More Likely to Experience Bullying

While it is clear that as a group, the obese have been more involved in bullying than other groups

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obesity, exercise
The researchers said that when it comes to obesity, genetics are not destiny, and the effects can be lessened by several kinds of regular exercises. Pixabay

Researchers have found that obese adolescents are not only significantly more likely to experience bullying, but chances of them being perpetrators are also higher, compared to their healthy weight peers.

Overweight or obese adolescents who are either victims or perpetrators of bullying or both have significantly greater odds of having depression, behavioural problems and difficulty making friends, said the study published in the journal Childhood Obesity.

“While it is clear that as a group, the obese have been more involved in bullying than other groups, it is not clear the extent to which the obese are the victims of bullying or the source? In a large nationally representative sample, it was determined that the obese were both victims and perpetrators,” said Tom Baranowski from Baylor College of Medicine in the US.

The study involved more than 31,000 adolescents aged between 10-17.

Research, Obese, Adolescents
Researchers have found that obese adolescents are not only significantly more likely to experience bullying. Pixabay

During the study, the researchers compared bullying behaviour among obese and healthy weight teenagers and found significant differences for bullying victimisation and being both a victim and a perpetrator.

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Adolescents with obesity involved in bullying behaviours had significantly higher odds of behavioural conduct problems, depression, arguing excessively and having difficulty making friends compared to obese adolescents who were neither a bully perpetrator nor victim, according to the researchers. (IANS)

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Climate Change Poses a Threat to the Health of Children

Report: Climate Disruption Threatens Health, Future of All Children

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Climate Change
A U.N.-backed report said Wednesday, warning climate change posed an urgent threat to the health and future of every child and adolescent. Pixabay

Many wealthy nations are letting the world’s younger generations down by failing to curb planet-warming emissions, a U.N.-backed report said Wednesday, warning climate change posed an urgent threat to the health and future of every child and adolescent.

A new global index showed children in Norway, South Korea and the Netherlands had the best chance at survival and well-being thanks to good health care, education and nutrition.

But a ranking of countries by per-capita carbon emissions put those and other rich nations, including the United States and Australia, close to the bottom on that measure, as major contributors to global health threats driven by climate change.

“Countries need to overhaul their approach to child and adolescent health, to ensure that we not only look after our children today but protect the world they will inherit in the future,” said former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, co-chair of the international commission that produced the report.

Climate Change
Students hold banners as they attend a climate school strike in London, Britain. VOA

Child flourishing, sustainability and equity

It said dramatic progress had been made in improving children’s lives in the past five decades but economic inequalities meant the benefits were not shared by all.

And the heating up of the planet and damage to the environment, among other stresses, meant every child faced an uncertain future, it added.

“Climate disruption is creating extreme risks from rising sea levels, extreme weather events, water and food insecurity, heat stress, emerging infectious diseases, and large-scale population migration,” said the report by more than 40 experts.

Commission member Sunita Narain, director general of the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, said that in her region of South Asia the main environmental threats came from water shortages and contamination, as well as air pollution.

Children’s health today “is at grave risk because of environmental degradation,” she added.

They are victims of a problem they did not cause — a situation that is particularly acute for the poor, she noted.

“The biggest inequity that we need to confront today is the inequity (of) climate change,” Narain told journalists.

The “sustainability” part of the index ranks countries on how their per-person emissions compare with a 2030 target giving a two-thirds chance of keeping global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

Of the top 25 countries with the best score on emissions, all but two were African.

That contrasts starkly with the “flourishing” part of the index, where many African nations did badly on children’s health, education, nutritious food and protection from violence.

Climate Change
Climate disruption is creating extreme risks from rising sea levels, extreme weather events, water and food insecurity and that is why youngsters are protesting. Wikimedia Commons

Not one country performed well on all three measures of child flourishing, sustainability and equity, concluded the commission convened by the World Heath Organization, The Lancet medical journal and U.N. children’s agency UNICEF.

Protect and respond

Another key threat identified was exploitative marketing practices that push fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children, increasingly through social media channels.

Report author Anthony Costello, professor of global health and sustainability at University College London, said children’s data was being harvested via online games and sold to big technology firms which then target youth with advertising.

“This is totally unregulated,” he said. “We think that there needs to be much greater attention to the protection of children around the world.”

They should also be placed at the center of efforts to achieve the global development goals agreed in 2015, he added.

Few countries have recorded much progress toward achieving those goals, which include ending poverty and hunger by 2030 and tackling climate change, the report noted.

Children should be given a bigger voice in policy decisions that affect their futures, it said — something they are already demanding through social movements like the school climate strikes that have mobilized students worldwide since mid-2018.

Jennifer Requejo, a UNICEF adviser on statistics and monitoring, said children could be involved through measures such as setting up local youth committees, informing them about their rights and having them participate in data collection.

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Costello said young people’s calls for a cleaner, safer world must be heeded by politicians.

“They are simply not responding at the moment in a way that is mature and evidence-based,” he added. (VOA)