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Bullying Starts Before School Years Begin: Study

And obese boys more likely to be both bully and bullied than slimmer peers, researchers report

continued...

Lead researcher Pauline Jansen and her colleagues at Erasmus University Rotterdam took into account other factors that might increase the risk of bullying or being bullied. Those factors included age, sex, national origin and mother's level of education, as well as whether the child had siblings or lived with a single parent.

The findings were published online Aug. 25 in the journal Pediatrics.

Although the children in the study were from the Netherlands, Tortolero said she would expect to see similar findings among U.S. children.

One way to address bullying behavior is to model healthy social relationships and build children's self-confidence, Tortolero said.

"If your child has a risk factor for kids picking on them, it's really important to give them skills to cope with those things and to build their self-esteem," she said. "If you teach your children to problem-solve and how to make decisions, then they will be more successful."

In addition to addressing the health issue of obesity by helping children make better choices with eating and physical activity, parents can help children find activities and hobbies they excel in, Tortolero said.

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