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The Sacramento Bee: Study Links Childhood Obesity to Poorer Math Performance
Obese children face risks to their emotional and social well-being that can harm their academic performance, new research suggests.
The study, published today in the journal Child Development, found obese elementary school children performed worse on math tests than their peers without weight problems.
A lack of social acceptance could account for the lower test scores, researchers said. Obese children who do not feel accepted by their peers often exhibit feelings of loneliness, sadness and anxiety that can hinder their academic performance.
Those feelings became even more apparent as the children progressed through school, according to the study.
"Children who have weight problems are not as well-received by their peers. That creates a condition or situation where developing social skills isn't as easy," said Sara Gable, the study's lead author and an associate professor in the department of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
For girls, but not for boys, difficulty developing social skills was related to obesity.
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