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# Obesity & homophobic bullying

By Murray Bourne, 22 Dec 2005

Some interesting statistics about UK school children... (from Grey's Essential Miscellany for Teachers, pp 26, 52.)

1. Common causes of bullying:

• being fat
• being thought of as gay

2. In Scotland,

• 20% of 12 yr-olds are clinically obese
• 1/3 is overweight

3. Homosexual adolescents are 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide or harm themselves than heterosexual students.

4. School-age students who are homosexual in the UK: 10%

All teenagers struggle with identity issues and feelings of not belonging. Educators should be very aware of the pressures on their students, and be supportive. Not easy though, because often those who are picked on are the most disruptive in class.

But doing something about bullying is much harder - as it is often difficult to detect and the victims are understandably hesitant to come forward and complain. And the sad thing is that we are not that far up the evolutionary tree that we can expect it to get better any time soon. Many people (meaning the neanderthals amongst us) still need to feel a sense of superiority and a need to establish themselves on the top of the pecking order.

Food for thought...

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