Obese kids more likely to struggle in school, study finds


Research has already established that overweight or obese children are more likely to be victims of bullying at school.

But a new study reveals that these kids are also apt to perform more poorly in their studies, proving that regardless of a child's social background, being overweight can influence school success.

Obesity influences grades

Researchers at the WZB Berling Social Science Center (WZB) studied how obesity influenced grades in mathematics and German, as well as how it impacted a child's transition into upper secondary school.

The team found that while overweight children don't perform worse in math, obese kids are less likely to achieve a "good" or "very good" math grade than normal-weight children. For overweight boys and girls, the likelihood of getting a grade 1 or 2 is 10-11 percent points lower than kids who aren't overweight. The researchers also found that the link between obesity and lower math scores couldn't be explained by whether or not a child was healthy, how much TV they watched or their participation in sports.

Gender differences

Obese girls were bullied more often, the study reported, which led to lower self-confidence and behavior problems. Overweight boys did not seem to suffer from the "bully effect," but they also suffered from lower self-confidence than other boys.

Both obese girls and boys attended upper secondary school (Gymnasium) less frequently than their peers. The exact cause of this wasn't discerned, the researchers noted.

"Possibly, teachers perceive obese children as less competent and recommend them less frequently for gymnasium, or perhaps parents have lower confidence in those children and send them to a upper secondary school less often," a press release on the study stated.

The study will be published in the October issue of the German journal Zeitschrift für Soziologie.

Source: Science Daily


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