Bullying victimization and obesogenic behaviour among adolescents aged 12 to 15 years from 54 low- and middle-income countries

Lee Smith, Louis Jacob, Jae Il Shin, Mark A. Tully, Damiano Pizzol, Guillermo F. López-Sánchez, Trish Gorely, Lin Yang, Igor Grabovac, Ai Koyanagi

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Data on the association between obesogenic behaviours and bullying victimization among adolescents are scarce from low- and middle-income countries.
Objectives: To assess the associations between obesogenic behaviours and bullying victimization in 54 low- and middle-income countries.
Methods: Cross-sectional data from the global school-based student health survey were analyzed. Data on bullying victimization and obesogenic behaviours were collected. The association between bullying victimization and the different types of obesogenic behaviour (anxiety-induced insomnia, fast-food consumption, carbonated soft-drink consumption, no physical activity and sedentary behaviour) were assessed by country-wise multivariable logistic regression analysis adjusting for age, sex, food insecurity and obesity with obesogenic behaviours being the outcome.
Result: The sample consisted of 153 929 students aged 12 to 15 years [mean (SD) age 13.8 (1.0) years; 49.3% girls]. Overall, bullying victimization (vs no bullying victimization) was significantly associated with greater odds for all types of obesogenic behaviour with the exception of physical activity, which showed an inverse association. Specifically, the ORs (95% CIs) were: anxiety-induced sleep problems 2.65 (2.43-2.88); fast-food consumption 1.36 (1.27-1.44); carbonated soft-drink consumption 1.14 (1.08-1.21); no physical activity 0.84 (0.79-0.89); and sedentary behaviour 1.34 (1.25-1.43).
Conclusion: In this large representative sample of adolescents from low- and middle-income countries, bullying victimization was found to be associated with several, but not all, obesogenic behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12700
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 3 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was based on data from the GSHS, which was made available for use by the Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion Department of the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work and approved it for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 World Obesity Federation

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • adolescents
  • bullying
  • low- and middle-income countries
  • obesogenic behaviour
  • victimization
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Anxiety/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Protective Factors
  • Crime Victims/psychology
  • Female
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Global Health
  • Bullying/psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Developing Countries/statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders/epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity/epidemiology
  • Diet
  • Health Surveys
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Sedentary Behavior


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