Childhood obesity linked to poor math performance: Study 0
Researchers found that boys and girls who were obese from the start of kindergarten through to Grade 5 did worse on the math test beginning in Grade 1 than children who were never obese. (Shutterstock)
A child's weight could affect their performance in math, a new study has found.
Researchers at the University of Missouri at Columbia, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Vermont looked at data points for more than 6,250 children across the U.S. who took part in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort.
The children were followed from when they started kindergarten to Grade 5. At five different time points, the children were weighed and measured and took academic tests, their parents gave information about their families, and teachers reported on the children's interpersonal skills and emotional well-being.
Using the data, the researchers found that boys and girls who were obese from the start of kindergarten through to Grade 5 did worse on the math test beginning in Grade 1 than children who were never obese. Their lower math performance continued through Grade 5, the study found. The math performance of boys who weren't obese until they were in Grade 3 or 4 showed no such difference, and the poorer math performance of girls who became obese later was temporary, the study found.
"The findings illustrate the complexity of relations among children's weight status, social and emotional well-being, academics, and time," lead author Sara Gable said in a release.
The study was published in the journal Child Development.