advertisement
14 June 2012

Childhood obesity linked to maths performance

Childhood obesity has increased dramatically and been tied to many health problems. Now a researcher has found that children's weight is associated with their math performance.

0

Childhood obesity has increased dramatically throughout the past 40 years and has been tied to many health problems. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found that children's weight is associated with their math performance.

"The findings illustrate the complex relationships among children's weight, social and emotional well-being, academics and time," said Sara Gable, associate professor in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, who led the study.

How the study was done

Gable looked at more than 6 250 children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, a nationally representative sample. The children were followed from the time they started kindergarten through fifth grade.

At five points in time, parents provided information about their families, teachers reported on the children's interpersonal skills and emotional well-being, and children were weighed and measured; they also took academic tests.

When compared with children who were never obese, boys and girls whose obesity persisted from the start of kindergarten through fifth grade performed worse on the math tests, starting in first grade. Their lower performance continued through fifth grade.

For boys whose obesity emerged later—in third or fifth grade—no such differences were found. For girls who became obese later, poorer math performance was temporary.

In addition, for girls who were persistently obese, having fewer social skills explained some part of their poorer math performance. For both boys and girls who were persistently obese, feeling sadder, lonelier and more anxious also explained some of their poorer math performance.

"Our study suggests that childhood obesity, especially obesity that persists throughout the elementary grades, can harm children's social and emotional well-being and academic performance," Gable said.

(EurekAlert, June 2012)

Read more:

Kids: obesity, hyperactivity, allergies

  

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

ChildNews
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

The debate continues »

Working out in the concrete jungle 7 top butt exercises for guys 10 things pole dancing can do for you

The running vs. walking debate

There are many different theories when it comes to the running vs. walking for health and weight loss.

Veganism a crime? »

Running the Comrades Marathon on a vegan diet Are vegans unnatural beasts? Can a vegan be really healthy?

Should it be a crime to raise a baby on vegan food?

After a number of cases of malnourishment in Italy, it may become a crime to feed children under 16 a vegan diet.