Link between obesity & poor grades in adolescent girls

466 girls classed as obese achieved poorer results Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A new study by Dundee, Strathclyde and Bristol universities has found a link between obesity and poorer academic grades among adolescent girls.

The research was carried out in collaboration with Georgia University in America and measured the academic attainment of almost 6,000 children against their body mass index (BMI).

The results showed that 466 girls classed as obese achieved poorer results aged 11, 13 and 16 years when compared to those of a healthy weight.

The link was less clear among boys, according to the team that led the study, said to be the most comprehensive of its kind.

Further work is needed to understand why obesity is negatively related to academic attainment, but it is clear that teenagers, parents and policy-makers in education and public health should be aware of the lifelong educational and economic impact of obesity.

– Professor John Reilly, the lead investigator

The researchers said they took into account potentially distorting factors, such as poorer background, IQ and the age the girls began menstruating, but found they did not affect the overall results.