University of Strathclyde study: Obese children get lower grades

13 Mar

The media presents an unrealistic image of perfection for women and girls. What they don’t disclose is for many of the “super” models their only job and requirement is the maintenance of their appearance. Their income depends on looks and what they are not able to enhance with plastic surgery and personal trainers, then that cellulite can be photoshopped or airbrushed away. That is the reality. Kid’s Health has some good information about Body Image

Huffington Post reported in the article, Children Diet To Keep Off Pounds And Ward Off Bullying, Survey Says:

A recent survey of 1,500 of children between ages 7 and 18 revealed that young teens diet and worry about their weight.
About 44 percent of children between the ages of 11 and 13 say they’ve been bullied because of their weight, and more than 40 percent of kids younger than 10 admitted they were concerned about packing on the pounds, with nearly one-fourth reporting having been on a diet in the last year, according to the Press Association….
Last year, 13-year-old Nicolette Taylor resorted to plastic surgery to escape harassment and name-calling, particularly on social networking sites such as Facebook.
“All my friends could see [my nose], all my new friends, and I didn’t want them saying things,” Taylor told Nightline about her decision to get a nose job. “Gossip goes around, and it really hurts.”
Other teens have felt suicide was their only way to escape daily scrutiny about their appearance or sexuality.
Although adolescents get picked on for a variety of reasons, weight is the top reason children are bullied at school, Yahoo! Shine reports.
And according to Rebecca Puhl, Director of Research at the Rudd Center for Food Policy at Yale University, a new ad campaign in Georgia is only “perpetua[ting] negative stereotypes.”
The ads, which aim to curb childhood obesity rates, feature photos of overweight children accompanied by text, such as “WARNING: It’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not.”

It is situations like this which cause unhealthy eating habits and disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

Linda Poon of NPR reported in the story, Obesity Linked To Lower Grades Among Teen Girls:

Since the 1990s, the U.K has seen childhood obesity rates grow at an alarming rate, says John Reilly, specialist in the prevention of childhood obesity at the University of Strathclyde, and the study’s lead author. Today, nearly a quarter of children in U.K. are obese by the time they reach 12. Increasingly, researchers in both the U.S. and the U.K. have been interested in how obesity might affect students’ academic achievement, but Reilly says few studies have examined the same students over several years, or been able tease out obesity’s effects from the influence of social factors, such as socioeconomic status.
The current study analyzed data from nearly 6,000 adolescent students in the U.K., comparing their body mass index from ages 11 to 16 with how well they performed in standardized tests during those years. About 71 percent of the students surveyed were of a “healthy weight” at the start, the researchers said, and about 15 percent were obese. The academic exams, which tested the students’ English, math and science abilities, were given three times — at ages 11, 13 and 16. After adjusting for factors like socioeconomic status, IQ and menstruation cycles, the researchers found that, on average, girls who were obese at age 11 performed worse at age 11, 13 and 16 than girls deemed to have a healthy weight. Being obese at 11, the scientists found, was enough “to lower average attainment to a grade D instead of a grade C,” by age 16…. Though the study followed British teens, Reilly says the findings are likely also applicable to students in the United States, where the proportion of children between the ages 12 and 19 who are obese grew from 5 percent in 1980 to nearly 21 percent by 2012.
“The similarities between the environment, the culture, [and] school systems between the U.S. and the U.K. are more similar than may be obvious,” Reilly says….

See also, Obesity associated with lower academic attainment in teenage girls, says new study


Journal Reference:
1.J N Booth, P D Tomporowski, J M E Boyle, A R Ness, C Joinson, S D Leary, J J Reilly. Obesity impairs academic attainment in adolescence: findings from ALSPAC, a UK cohort. International Journal of Obesity, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2014.40

Here is the news release from the Universities of Strathclyde, Dundee, Georgia and Bristol

News Releases
main content
Obesity associated with lower academic attainment in teenage girls, says new study
Obesity in adolescent girls is associated with lower academic attainment levels throughout their teenage years, a new study has shown.
The research conducted by the Universities of Strathclyde, Dundee, Georgia and Bristol is the most comprehensive study yet carried out into the association between obesity and academic attainment in adolescence. The results are published in the International Journal of Obesity.
The results showed that girls who were obese, as measured by BMI (body mass index) at age 11 had lower academic attainment at 11, 13 and 16 years when compared to those of a healthy weight. The study took into account possible mediating factors but found that these did not affect the overall results.
Attainment in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science for obese girls was lower by an amount equivalent to a D instead of a C, which was the average in the sample.
Associations between obesity and academic attainment were less clear in boys.
University of Strathclyde Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health Science, John Reilly – the Principal Investigator of the study – said: “Further work is needed to understand why obesity is negatively related to academic attainment, but it is clear that teenagers, parents, and policymakers in education and public health should be aware of the lifelong educational and economic impact of obesity.”
Dr Josie Booth, of the School of Psychology at the University of Dundee, said: “There is a clear pattern which shows that girls who are in the obese range are performing more poorly than their counterparts in the healthy weight range throughout their teenage years.”
The study examined data from almost 6000 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), including academic attainment assessed by national tests at 11, 13 and 16 years and weight status. 71.4% were healthy weight (1935 male, 2325 female), 13.3% overweight (372 male, 420 female) and 15.3% obese (448 male, 466 female).
The researchers took into account potentially distorting factors such as socio-economic deprivation, mental health, IQ and age of menarche (onset of the menstrual cycle) but found these did not change the relationship between obesity and academic attainment.
This study was funded through a BUPA Foundation grant to the University of Strathclyde. ALSPAC receives core support from the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol.
11 March 2014
Web MD has some excellent information about Anorexia
Anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to simply as anorexia, is one type of eating disorder. More importantly, it is also a psychological disorder. Anorexia is a condition that goes beyond concern about obesity or out-of-control dieting. A person with anorexia often initially begins dieting to lose weight. Over time, the weight loss becomes a sign of mastery and control. The drive to become thinner is actually secondary to concerns about control and/or fears relating to one’s body. The individual continues the ongoing cycle of restrictive eating, often accompanied by other behaviors such as excessive exercising or the overuse of diet pills to induce loss of appetite, and/or diuretics, laxatives, or enemas in order to reduce body weight, often to a point close to starvation in order to feel a sense of control over his or her body. This cycle becomes an obsession and, in this way, is similar to an addiction.
Who is at risk for anorexia nervosa?
Approximately 95% of those affected by anorexia are female, most often teenage girls, but males can develop the disorder as well. While anorexia typically begins to manifest itself during early adolescence, it is also seen in young children and adults. In the U.S. and other countries with high economic status, it is estimated that about one out of every 100 adolescent girls has the disorder. Caucasians are more often affected than people of other racial backgrounds, and anorexia is more common in middle and upper socioeconomic groups. According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), other statistics about this disorder include the fact that an estimated 0.5%-3.7% of women will suffer from this disorder at some point in their lives. About 0.3% of men are thought to develop anorexia in their lifetimes
Many experts consider people for whom thinness is especially desirable, or a professional requirement (such as athletes, models, dancers, and actors), to be at risk for eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa. Health-care professionals are usually encouraged to present the facts about the dangers of anorexia through education of their patients and of the general public as a means of preventing this and other eating disorders.
What causes anorexia nervosa?
At this time, no definite cause of anorexia nervosa has been determined. However, research within the medical and psychological fields continues to explore possible causes.
Studies suggest that a genetic (inherited) component may play a more significant role in determining a person’s susceptibility to anorexia than was previously thought. Researchers are currently attempting to identify the particular gene or genes that might affect a person’s tendency to develop this disorder, and preliminary studies suggest that a gene located at chromosome 1p seems to be involved in determining a person’s susceptibility to anorexia nervosa.
Other evidence had pinpointed a dysfunction in the part of the brain, the hypothalamus (which regulates certain metabolic processes), as contributing to the development of anorexia. Other studies have suggested that imbalances in neurotransmitter (brain chemicals involved in signaling and regulatory processes) levels in the brain may occur in people suffering from anorexia.

Beautiful people come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The key is to be healthy and to live a healthy lifestyle


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