Globally, childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming rate. It is a worrying trend because of the associated health problems that develop as a consequence, such as, type 2 diabetes, poor brain health and cardiovascular disease. But at the other end of the scale, underweight children experience different health problems, such as, increased risk of infectious disease and decreased immune function.
In a recent study led by Associate Professor Noriteru Morita from Hokkaido in Japan, a research group investigated whether body weight was favourable to academic performance in school children in a 2 year longitudinal study. Confounders such as screen time, learning duration, exercise, physical fitness and socio-economic status were excluded to minimise influencing the relationship being studied.
Academic results were collected from 197 seventh-grade children aged 12 to 13. The students results were calculated from total grade points achieved in 5 subjects and contrasted with the students body mass index (BMI), which was calculated as body weight per height.
Overall, the study presented evidence for the first time that weight gain in children who were underweight, and loss of weight by obese children, contributed positively to their academic performance.
You can read more about the groups research study for free in the article: ‘Longitudinal relationship of favorable weight change to academic performance in children’ published by npj Scienceof Learning.