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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Obesity is associated with decreased academic performance in elementary school students

Authors
item Johnston, Craig -
item Palcic, Jennettee -
item Stansberry, Sandra -
item El-Mubasher, Abeer -
item Foreyt, John -
item Woehler, Deborah -

Submitted to: Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2011
Publication Date: April 1, 2011
Citation: Johnston, C.A., Palcic, J., Stansberry, S.A., El-Mubasher, A.A., Foreyt, J.P., Woehler, D.L. 2011. Obesity is associated with decreased academic performance in elementary school students [abstract]. Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 25:215.7.

Technical Abstract: The relationship between weight status and academic performance among 2nd grade students was examined. We hypothesized that overweight and obese students would have poorer grades than students who were normal weight. The sample was composed of 798 ethnically diverse children (White=28%, Black=23%, Hispanic=23%, Asian=25%). Students were classified as normal weight, overweight, and obese. Based on initial analyses on baseline demographics, gender and ethnicity were used as covariates for all analyses. Cumulative grades in math, science, and reading were examined. In addition, each of the 3 subject areas was analyzed independently. One-way ANOVA revealed significant differences in grades between weight classifications (F=5.68, p < .01). Post hoc analyses indicated that children who were obese at the beginning of second grade had significantly lower grades at the end of second grade than both their normal weight and overweight peers (p=.001 and p=.02, respectively). Results similar to the primary outcome were found for each of the subject areas including math (F=6.06, p < .01), science (F=4.14, p < .05), and reading (F=4.17, p < .05). This study suggests that weight status is an important marker of scholastic success. Addressing overweight may bolster efforts to improve academic performance.

Last Modified: 4/21/2014
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