Children who are bullied in P.E. class are less likely to pursue and enjoy physical activity, according to a new report published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.
The study, spearheaded by BYU psychology professor Chad Jensen, found that children of all weights who were bullied in P.E. classes or other physical activities displayed an aversion to exercise for as long as a year after the incidents.
Prior studies have linked bullying to decreased physical activity when the bullied were obese or overweight, but the new research finds that the correlation extends to children of normal weight.
Researchers polled fourth and fifth grade students from six Midwestern elementary schools about health, emotional well-being, cooperation with others, and academics. A year later, researchers asked students the same questions to track changes.
Scientists suggest that bolstering anti-bullying campaigns could produce tangible results for youth fitness. The study also recommends developing policies to curb peer victimization rooted in physical ability.