Obese children are less likely to flourish at school

Obese children are less likely to ‘flourish’ at school, research suggests. Youngsters carrying dangerous amounts of weight fail to meet the five markers of flourishing compared to those who are a healthy size or overweight.

These markers include not finishing their homework, having a disinterest in how well they do in school and failing to complete tasks they have started.

This may affect their ability to ‘develop healthy relationships, positive attitudes, a sense of purpose and responsibility’ as adults, according to researchers.

Lead author Dr Natasha Gill, of Brown University in Rhode Island, said: ‘Childhood obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges we face today.

“We know that children with obesity are at a greater risk for long-term health conditions that can last into adulthood. And we wanted to see whether obesity affects a child’s immediate wellbeing as it relates to development of psychosocial skills and other signs of flourishing.”

The researchers therefore analysed 22,914 parents and caregivers of children aged between 10 and 17 who took part in the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health.

Flourishing is a rather new term that refers to a child’s overall well-being, learning and resilience.

Factors such as age, sex, a depression diagnosis, hours of sleep, screen time and parental education were taken into account.

Results showed that 27.5 percent of obese children, defined as having a body mass index in the 95th percentile, had all five markers of flourishing.

Published in Daily Times, November 15th 2018.