The negative outcomes for obesity just keep adding up.
A new study appearing in Child Development finds that kids' weight is associated with how well they do in math.
Compared to children who were at healthy weights, kids who obese from at least the beginning of kindergarten through the fifth grade did worse on a math test given to study participants. The notably worse performance began to manifest in the first grade and continued through fifth grade.
In boys who became obese later, however – say, third grade – researchers found no effect on academic performance found; in girls whose weight problems began later, they found that lower performance was only temporary.
Researchers explained the phenomenon in girls in part by pointing to few social skills. For the males, they said their poorer academic performance could be partly explained by feelings of sadness, loneliness and anxiety.
"Our study suggests that obesity in the early years of school, especially obesity that persists across the elementary grades, can harm children's social and emotional well-being and academic performance," lead researcher Sara Gable said in a statement.
The southside has some of the county's highest rates of childhood obesity – nearly 30 percent of kids in Council District 9 were at an unhealthy weight in 2008.
Photo by BES Photos via Flickr Creative Commons.