Teasing Kids About Weight Linked to More Weight Gain

New research illustrates a heartbreaking, vicious cycle: Teasing kids about their weight not only bruises their self-esteem, it also appears to trigger more weight gain.

In fact, middle schoolers who reported high levels of weight-related teasing had a 33% higher jump in their body mass index per year compared to peers who weren’t teased about their weight. The ridiculed kids also had a 91% higher increase in their levels of fat compared to children who didn’t get mocked about their size.

“Kids who had been teased more about their weight gained more weight and fat over time, and they gained at a steeper trajectory,” said study author Natasha Schvey. She’s an assistant professor in the department of medical and clinical psychology at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Md.

The latest statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show