It's not illness that keeps elementary school children away from the classroom most often.
It's obesity, say University of Pennsylvania and Temple University researchers in a study released on August 10, the Associated Press reports. In fact, obesity is the best predictor of school absenteeism, the scientists say.
Predicts future problems
According to Andrew B. Geier, the study's lead author and a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, obese elementary school children, on average, miss a couple more school days each year, and that's a prediction for possible major problems down the road. "It's clear in all the literature that the more days of school you miss, really sets you up for such negative outcomes: drugs and Aids and (teen) pregnancy," Geier told the wire service.
The study didn't examine physical health issues associated with being overweight, the wire service reports. Rather, it dealt with emotional or psychological reasons behind the absenteeism. "They're missing school because they don't want to be bullied and called names," the A.P. quotes Geier as saying.
The study can be found in the latest issue of the journal Obesity. – (HealthDayNews)