Diet quality and bullying among a cross-national sample of youth

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6 Scopus citations


Bullying perpetration and victimization have been linked to a number of high-risk health behaviors, including involvement in sedentary activities and sleep deprivation. Even so, the link between diet quality and bullying is generally overlooked. The present study examines the associations between diet quality, bully perpetration, and bully victimization in a cross-national sample of adolescents. Data come from the Health Behaviors of School Children (HBSC) survey, 2005/2006 (N = 142,828–143,425). Youths from 41 countries/regions in North America and Europe reported features of their social context, various health behaviors, and their involvement in bullying. Approximately 11% of youth in the sample bully other youths at least 2–3 times a month, whereas 13% of youth are bullied by other youths at least 2–3 times a month. Logistic regression analyses revealed that youths with low quality diets incurred a 123% increase in the odds of attaining bully status, relative to youths with high quality diets. No such association was detected between diet quality and victim status. Results also suggest that the association between low diet quality and bully perpetration is significantly more pronounced in very developed nations (relative to developed nations). Dietary behaviors may be an important point of intervention in the effort to minimize the prevalence of bullying among youths, particularly in very developed nations. Scholars should seek to build upon the current study by exploring the mechanisms (e.g., low self-control) that might explain the association between diet quality and bullying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-365
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Bullying
  • Cross-national
  • Eating behaviors
  • Nutrition
  • Youths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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