In this study of 1,420 children, the researchers found that those who bullied others were twice as likely to display symptoms of bulimia, such as binge eating and purging, when compared to children who are not involved in bullying.

"For a long time, there is been this story about bullies that they are a little more hale and hearty," said lead author William Copeland from Duke University School of Medicine in US.

Maybe teasing others may sensitise them to their own body image issues, or afterward, they have regret for their actions that results in these symptoms like binge eating followed by purging or excess exercise, Copeland explained.

The researchers found that children who were both bullies and victims had the highest prevalence of anorexia symptoms and also the highest prevalence of binge eating and vomiting as a way to maintain their weight.

But the impact of bullying behaviour on those who were bullies was also significant, with 30.8 percent of bullies having symptoms of bulimia compared to 17.6 percent of children not involved in bullying.

The findings will be published in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

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