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Sun Jul 6, 2014, 05:12 PM

Study: Kids Bullied in Gym, Sports Avoid Future Activity

Many people believe that mandatory P.E. encourages sedentary kids to become physically active. They are sadly mistaken. Especially when the kids have no interest in sports.


Study: Kids Bullied in Gym, Sports Avoid Future Activity
by Lois M. Collins, Deseret News January 2014

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Copyright 2014 The Deseret News Publishing Co.
Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)

When kids are bullied during physical activities like PE classes and sports, they tend to withdraw from being physically active -- not just in class, but in general. A year later, kids who are picked on are less active, according to a study led by BYU researchers.

That's true of both overweight and healthy-weight kids, the study found. The research is published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

The research touches on two different factors in child well-being that concern experts. First, physical activity -- or its lack -- and the resulting weight gain have serious ramifications for both present and future health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others. Research suggests that only 8 percent of school-age children get the recommended one hour of physical activity a day that federal guidelines say they need. Obesity is considered by health officials to be a national epidemic that includes children.

At the same time, the U.S. Department of Education's National Center on Educational Statistics noted that at least 13.5 million episodes of bullying were reported in 2011, ranging from insults to threats and physical harm. It's not a count of how many students were actually bullied, since some students were likely bullied in more than one way and other students probably never reported incidents, but it is suggestive.

Intrigued by earlier research that suggested kids who are bullied by peers may become more sedentary, the researchers in the BYU-led study decided to look at what happens when the bullying itself involves physical activity. "Kids may be teased about their physical skills, ostracized when teams are chosen for sports, or criticized for their physical appearance when they wear exercise clothing," said lead researcher Chad D. Jensen, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Brigham Young University.

Sitting it out

"Children who have been criticized for their physical skills, chosen last and ridiculed seem to avoid physical activity, perhaps because from previous experience they figure it's punishing and they'll stay on the sidelines," Jensen said.

The researchers asked 108 students from several Midwest grade schools questions that ranged from what their diets were like to how they were treated by peers. The research focused on a "constellation of physical, psychological, emotional and academic functioning," Jensen said.

Using two surveys, they asked about health and activities, feelings, whether the children had problems with other children and how they felt about and performed in school. They also asked about bullying, although they didn't call it that, measuring things like feeling put down and perceptions of how others see them, as well as how upset the child felt as a result of how he or she was treated.

They found that even a year later, children ages 9 to 12 who had been teased during physical activity were less active than those who had not been teased. The finding was especially true for healthy-weight kids a year later, he added. Overweight children who were teased experienced a decrease in their health-related quality of life, including physical, social and academic well-being.

Activity matters

"Children's early experiences with physical activity can influence their exercise habits well into adulthood," Jensen said. He cites the benefits of an active lifestyle: reduced risk for obesity, depression, diabetes, sleep problems and other physical and mental health issues.

The American Academy of Pediatrics "Bright Futures" report notes that "physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle and must begin in infancy and extend throughout adulthood. Regular physical activity increases lean body mass, muscle and bone strength and promotes good physical health. It fosters psychological wellbeing, can increase self-esteem and capacity for learning and can help children and adolescents handle stress."

Jensen hopes the study will serve as a call to action. It highlights how important it is to prevent bullying in schools and on the playing field. "We encourage educators and other adult leaders to intervene if children are being teased during physical activity and to consider physical education classes and recess important domains for bullying prevention," he said.

The other researchers were Christopher C. Cushing of Oklahoma State University and Allison R. Elledge of University of Kansas.

EMAIL: [email protected], Twitter: Loisco

January 26, 2014

[center]Copyright 2014 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.[/center]

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Reply Study: Kids Bullied in Gym, Sports Avoid Future Activity (Original post)
radicalliberal Jul 2014 OP
radicalliberal Jul 2014 #1
LeftofObama Jul 2014 #2
radicalliberal Jul 2014 #4
radicalliberal Jul 2014 #3
47of74 Jan 2016 #5
radicalliberal Jan 2016 #6
mythology Feb 2016 #7

Response to radicalliberal (Original post)

Sun Jul 6, 2014, 05:18 PM

1. For the record, I'm not a sedentary guy.

At least I've not been sedentary for the last seven years. I've spent a small fortune on personal trainers at a local health club working on a bodybuilding program. I've been amazed at the results!

But I wouldn't set foot in a health club until I was 57 years old. Largely because of the completely negative experience of the mandatory P.E. of my youth. An experience that was shared by many other nonathletic guys of my generation.

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Response to radicalliberal (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 6, 2014, 05:48 PM

2. I agree 100%!

When I was in junior high/high school I was literally told to my face that I was not nor would I ever be one of the cool kids. I was nothing but a worthless faggot and the sooner I would die the better off the world would be. Needless to say the depression took hold of me and I started thinking maybe they were right.

A couple of years after I graduated I started running for my health and I loved the way it made me feel. Over the last several years I've been running competitively and my wall is full of gold medals. I can run a half marathon and my heart rate will go back to normal within minutes of finishing. I have a resting heart rate of 51 and I'm 53 years old.

Every now and then I see someone I went to school with and I can't help but think how miserable their lives must be. Several of them are 250-300 lbs. and look like they haven't eaten a vegetable in years. I've found that life really does get better with age and you get out of it what you put into it. I'm living proof.

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Response to LeftofObama (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 08:51 PM

4. Thank you very much for the kind reply! :)

I expected a snarky comment or two from supporters of traditional P.E. The position of some "progressives" on this issue -- an issue that affects children -- sounds just like what I would expect a Freeper to say. I shudder when I hear people say that P.E. should be mandatory K/12. Many of them will even say they don't care if nonathletic kids are bullied. Yes, that will really encourage them to become physically active!

I was scrawny when I was introduced to the misery that was mandatory P.E., and I was scrawny on the last day I had P.E. in the eighth grade. Some progress! In all those years, I never heard the words "exercise program" drip from the lips of any of my P.E. coaches -- all of whom viewed nonathletic boys with either indifference or contempt. I needed to be educated. I didn't even know what an exercise program was. I thought I was inherently puny and that there was nothing I could do about it. (Incidentally, except for a minute or two during which my sixth-grade P.E. coach hurriedly demonstrated a few wrestling holds, there wasn't even any teaching or instruction in the sports themselves!)

Fortunately, since I was a band student, I wasn't required to take P.E. in high school, which I heard was even more hellish for nonathletic boys. If I had been forced to take it, I might have done something drastic. Except for the educators who advocate reform (who, as far as I'm concerned, are in the minority, not the majority), I have nothing but contempt for the phys ed establishment.

I hear you about junior high and high school. A time of unbridled intolerance for anyone who was different in any way. A paradise for conformists engaged in shallow social climbing! For some of us, high-school social life was a big joke typified by cliquish hypocrisy. I had the added misfortune to attend high school in one of the most predominantly conservative Republican congressional districts in the country. (I remember many of my high-school classmates reacting to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in the spring of 1968 with unbridled glee. Less joy was on display when school let out for the summer.) Most of my classmates were spoiled rich kids. I couldn't be paid to attend any of my high-school reunions.

I'm quite impressed with your accomplishments! You will continue to receive health benefits even when you're older. To repeat a true statement: The best revenge is living a good life.

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Response to radicalliberal (Original post)

Response to radicalliberal (Original post)

Sat Jan 9, 2016, 07:04 PM

5. Yeah I hated PE in high school. Hated it.


I think it's part of why I had such a problem with gyms or fitness activities until a few years ago. I think if I hadn't had such a bad experience I might be more fit today.

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Response to 47of74 (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 10, 2016, 05:43 PM

6. I'm still amazed at the difference between the mandatory phys ed of my schooling and my health club

experience. (Today I work out with my personal trainer in a studio. It's even better than a health club.) The fact is I got no exercise in P.E. classes. All I got was just a lot of dread. The only justification for mandatory phys ed is to promote health and wellness. Historically the phys ed establishment has failed in that regard. Today there are some innovators and reformers who realize that nonathletic kids were completely disregarded, to put it mildly; but I doubt they're in charge of the phys ed establishment.

There are people who have achieved high levels of fitness who have never had any interest in sports.

The relationship I've had with the personal trainers in my bodybuilding program has been quite beneficial -- not at all like the P.E. coaches of my youth.

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Response to radicalliberal (Original post)

Wed Feb 3, 2016, 11:22 PM

7. Shocking, being on the receiving end of shitty behavior makes one want to avoid that


Exercise is a good thing, but you do have to find the right group. I'm lucky in that I have found 4 good groups in my area. Now if my knee will just finish healing so I can get back to doing things as freely as I'd like.

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