To examine rates of weight-based teasing before initiation of school-based childhood obesity prevention policies (Arkansas Act 1220 of 2003) and during the 2 years following policy implementation, as well as demographic factors related to weight-based teasing.
Analysis of consecutive random cross-sectional statewide telephone surveys conducted annually across 3 years.
Sample representative of Arkansas public school students with stratification by geographic region, school level (elementary, middle, and high school), and school size (small, medium, and large).
Parents of children enrolled in Arkansas public schools and index adolescents 14 years or older.
Statewide school-based obesity policies, including body mass index screening.
Main Outcome Measures
Survey items about weight-based teasing, other teasing, body weight and height, and sociodemographic factors, as well as school characteristics obtained from the Common Core of Data of the National Center for Education Statistics.
At baseline, 14% of children experienced weight-based teasing by parental report. The prevalence of weight-based teasing did not change significantly from baseline in the 2 years following school-based policy changes. Children and adolescents most likely to be teased because of weight were those who were overweight, obese, white, female, and 14 years or older, as well as those teased for other reasons. Adolescent report of weight-based teasing yielded similar patterns.
Although the effectiveness of school-based obesity prevention policies remains unclear, policy changes did not lead to increased weight-based teasing among children and adolescents.