Decreased Scholastic Achievement in Overweight Middle School Students

Department of Kinesiology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Obesity (Impact Factor: 3.73). 07/2008; 16(7):1535-8. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2008.254
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether overweight students achieved a lower relative degree of scholastic achievement compared to nonoverweight students. Subjects consisted of 6th and 7th grade students enrolled in a large public middle school in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We compared grade point averages (GPAs), nationally standardized reading scores, school detentions, school suspensions, school attendance, tardiness to school, physical fitness test scores, and participation on school athletic teams among nonoverweight, at risk for overweight, and overweight students. Overweight students achieved lower grades (P<0.001) and lower physical fitness scores (P<0.0001) than their nonoverweight peers. Overweight students demonstrated a 0.4 letter grade lower GPA (on a 4.00 scale) and 11% lower national percentile reading scores than their nonoverweight peers. The overweight students also demonstrated significantly more detentions, worsened school attendance, more tardiness to school, and less participation on school athletic teams than their nonoverweight peers. Our study suggests that body mass is an important indicator of scholastic achievement, attendance, behavior, and physical fitness among middle school students, reiterating the need for healthy lifestyle intervention and prevention measures.

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    • "By contrast, these positive attitudes indicate that pre-service teachers believe that obese people score higher than normal-weight persons on achievement. Although obesity has been found to be linked to lower academic achievement (Latinen et al. 2002; Datar et al. 2004; Shore et al. 2008), this is not reflected in explicit attitudes toward the achievement of obese people. "

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    • ", baseline cognitive differences could not be excluded : ( 1 ) between intervention groups , since participants were not individually randomised to the two inter - ventions , and ( 2 ) between lean and overweight chil - dren , since weight status – a factor included in the analysis model – is potentially linked to children ' s cognitive function ( Shore et al . , 2008 ) . Mixed - model ANOVAs with PE programme and testing time ( pre vs . post ) as factors were run on BMI and VO 2max data to control for pre - to post - intervention changes . In the case of significant effects of the two PE programmes , mediation analy - sis was performed ( McKinnon , Fairchild , & Fritz , 2007 ) to test whether pre – "
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