Health and weight

School, education and weight

Experiences of school varied for the young people we met but having serious weight problems could make school difficult, particularly if they were being bullied. Some people we spoke to went on to further training or university after school, and were enjoying life and feeling optimistic about the future.
Some young people got through school by ignoring bullies and concentrating on their work. Others felt helpless and threatened most of the time they were there. A few young people missed a lot of school which affected their school results. One girl said she was so focused on ‘the anorexia side of things’ she stopped going to school. 
Certain lessons at school, like PE/gymnastics, made many feel extremely self-conscious about their weight. They hated having to get changed in front of their friends and dreaded activities like rope climbing. 
One girl who had lived in South Africa and the UK said that every student at her school in S. Africa had the chance to be in a school team and get involved in school sports, whereas in the UK no one seemed that interested.

Sometimes the teacher would try to help by offering extra encouragement but this could attract negative attention and comments. Some teachers did not help at all and would not tackle the bullies.
Parents knew that their children disliked PE, cross-country running and swimming lessons. Some suggested ways that the school curriculum could be changed which might help their children. They wanted their children to be taught about weight and health as a standard part of the curriculum. 

Life was much better for most people once they reached the sixth form or had gone to university. They felt accepted for who they were rather than being judged on the basis of looks and size.
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See also Friends, relationships and weight.

Last reviewed July 2017.

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