The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that in 2008, more than one-third of children and adolescents were considered overweight or obese. Even more troubling is the fact that obesity among this population has more than tripled in the past 30 years. While obesity is never good for children’s health, new research from the University of Missouri reveals that this issue can also influence these individuals’ math performance in school. Recently, Sara Gable, an associate professor in the University’s Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, led a study that used data from more than 6,250 children who participated in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort. Using this Cohort, which featured information on students from when they entered kindergarten through the fifth grade, Gable and her colleagues were able to identify a noticeable difference between children who were obese and those who were not. Youths who had weight problems throughout the study tended to perform worse on math tests when compared to those who did not have weight problems. A link was also identified between childhood obesity and feelings of sadness and loneliness, which, Gable believes could explain these individuals’ poor math skills. As a result, parents of obese children may want to have them complete an IQ test for kids to see if their weight problems are having an impact on their academic performance.
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