Child Overweight? Peers Will Pick Skinnier Kids for Friends

After battling all the issues that come with being overweight -- poor health, body image concerns, even mobility problems for some -- a new study has found that overweight kids may have a problem getting friends, too.  The study showed that overweight kids are less likely than their thinner counterparts to be chosen as a friend by their peers.
Newswise.com reports that the study, involving data from almost 60,000 students from 88 middle and high schools, used a social networking approach asking adolescent participants, at an average age of 15, to identify their five closest female friends and five closest male friends. "Body mass index was self-reported and participants were categorized as underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese," the Web site notes..
Results from the study indicate that non-overweight youths were more likely to select non-overweight friends than friends who carried extra weight.  But while the heavier students didn't pay much attention to weight when choosing their own friends, researchers did find that overweight youth were more likely to choose a non-overweight friend than they were likely to receive a non-overweight friend selection in return.

As a fat kid in elementary school, I didn't have many friends.  But it wasn't because people didn't want to be friends with me.  It was because I was embarrassed by how I looked and thought no one would to be friends with me, because of it.  Maybe it's all the same thing.
“The goal of this study was to offer a detailed account of how adolescent weight status affects friend selection. Using a social network approach, we tested how the weight status of the person initiating the friendship and the weight status of the friendship target combine to affect friendship likelihood,” the study’s authors explain at newswise.com.
So fat kids have it really hard.  Certainly this isn't true in all cases.  Some of the most popular boys at my son's middle school are quite chubby, especially in this day of overwhelming childhood obesity. But for most heavy kids, the sad reality is that they will most likely be picked last -- or, at least, not first -- for friendship with others.   

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