According to a study just released, obese students have a higher absenteeism rate than their slimmer classmates - which researchers contend can lead to a plethora of additional problems as they get older. Of the 1,069 fourth through sixth grade students that participated in the research program, obese children missed approximately 20% more school than their normal weight peers. The study was conducted by Andrew B. Geier, a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. "At this early age to show that already they're missing school, and missing school is such a major setup for big-time problems, that's something school policy people have to know," Geier said.
Researchers believe weight problems at this age are more of a psychological/esteem issue than a health issue. "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 Geier. "However, they are missing school at a greater rate than their peers, setting themselves up for the negative fallout that accompanies absenteeism. What's keeping them from school, more than heath issues, is the stigma and the bullying that accompanies being overweight. Future research should explore this additional, very damaging side effect of being overweight." Geier suggests these side effects could include poor grades, becoming unhealthy and developing obesity related diseases, not finishing school and even engaging in risky behavior that could lead to pregnancy, AIDS and other STD's.
To learn more about this study, click here.
In good health,
LifeStyle Media Group