Overweight children are at greater risk of school absenteeism than their normal-weight peers, a new study showed.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University, found that overweight children were absent on average 20 percent more than their normal-weight peers.
The study also determined that body mass index, or BMI, is as significant a factor in determining absenteeism from school as age, race, socioeconomic status and gender, formerly the four main predictors.
This was the first study of how weight may affect school attendance. The findings were published Saturday in the August issue of the journal Obesity.
The study analyzed more than a thousand 4th, 5th and 6th graders in the Philadelphia school system.
"At this young age, children are not necessarily experiencing the health problems that will likely confront them later in life unless serious intervention takes place," said Andrew B. Geier, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
"However, they are missing school at a greater rate than their peers, setting themselves up for the negative fallout that accompanies absenteeism," he said.
What was keeping them from school, more than heath issues, is the stigma and the bullying that accompanies being overweight, Geier said, adding that future research should explore this additional, very damaging side effect of being overweight.
The disadvantages that arise from missing school such as increased drug use, increased rates of pregnancy and poor academic performance have been previously documented. Meanwhile, the rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the United States during the past 25 years.
The four indicators of increased absenteeism among school children have traditionally been race, socioeconomic status, age and gender. Young men from economically disadvantaged, minority populations were considered at greater risk for school absenteeism, and that remains true; however, in this study, BMI was a better indicator of poor classroom attendance than these traditional factors or any others.
Last Mod: 12 Ağustos 2007, 18:41