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Bullies likely to have ‘eating disorders’

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Washington: A new study has found that those who bully others are twice as likely to display symptoms of bulimia, such as bingeing and purging, when compared to children who are not involved in bullying.

Researchers at Duke Medicine and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found, those who bullied others were twice as likely to display symptoms of bulimia, such as bingeing and purging, when compared to children who are not involved in bullying.

In the study, participants were divided into four categories: victims of bullying, children who sometimes were victims and sometimes were instigators, and children who were solely bullies, repeatedly abusing other children verbally and physically.

They found that children who were victims of bullying were at nearly twice the risk of displaying symptoms of anorexia and bulimia.

Children who were both bullies and victims had the highest prevalence of anorexia symptoms and also the highest prevalence of binge eating and vomiting as a way to maintain their weight.

Surprisingly, the impact of bullying behavior on those who were bullies was also significant, with 30.8 percent of bullies having symptoms of bulimia compared to 17.6 percent of children not involved in bullying.

Cynthia M. Bulik of the UNC School of Medicine said that all of these behaviors could have devastating effects on the long-term health of children.

Bulik said that these findings tell us to raise our vigilance for eating disorders in anyone involved in bullying exchanges, regardless of whether they are the aggressor, the victim, or both.

The study is published in the Journal International Journal of Eating Disorders. (ANI)