Identifying the Subject and Providing Background
Currently, obesity is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world: according to the WHO, by the early twenty-first century, overweight was about 30% of the planet. The most significant medical consequences of obesity – type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases ”“ lead to high level of disability and premature death in the modern world. And special attention should be paid to the fact of increasing prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents, since in developed countries over the past 20 years it has doubled, together with disorders of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, hypertension. All these problems indicate the relevance of the research on obesity problems in this age group. Also a high medical and social importance of diseases associated with obesity in children leads to the relevance of research in this direction.
Childhood obesity is associated with different health risk factors such as orthopedic, neurological, pulmonary, gastroenterological, and endocrine conditions. But it is also necessary to note that obesity also affects children’s psychosocial outcomes, such as low self-esteem and depression, resulting from overweight concerns. (Datar et al., 2004)
The aim of this paper is to study the social aspects of childhood obesity, namely the connection between the academic results of children at school and obesity. This question has been studied by many scientists, for example, and as a result were made the appropriate conclusions. The question of the relationship between obesity and academic results of children is important for schools and educational facilities for children, for example in order to properly develop curricula and programs of physical activity for children.
Studies show that there is a relationship between physical activity of children and their school performance, namely, average grade points, motivation for studying and behavior in the classroom. This is primarily due to different social development in children, since studies also show that children with obesity have a number of psychological and social problems of communication at school, have a higher risk for school absenteeism and lower motivation for studying. (Datar et al., 2004)
So let us consider some research on this issue. The method of investigation is a review of academic literature on the subject.
Problems research and discussion
Obesity in children is very important and urgent problem in the early 21st century, as evidenced by the World Health Organization. Therefore, investigation of causes, factors and consequences of obesity in children and adolescents has been widely discussed in numerous research and studies. We will review research related directly to the issue of the relationship between obesity of children and their academic results at school. It should be noted that when studying the relationship of childhood obesity and academic results, scientists are also considering the level of physical activity of children, such as at school or other educational institutions.
The first study is made by Datar A., Sturm R. and Magnabosco Jennifer L. (2004) on the relationship between children’s overweight status in kindergarten and their academic achievement in kindergarten and first grade. Researchers analyzed data about 11,192 first time kindergartners from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative sample of kindergartners in the U.S. in 1998. The researchers compared test results in mathematics and reading of children at the beginning and end of the year. As a result, it was concluded that overweight children had lower test scores than other children. But further investigation revealed a stronger influence of other factors on the children tests results, such as family social status, race, parent’s education, etc. that is, significant differences in test scores among overweight children were explained by other individual characteristics, including parental education and the home environment. (Datar et al., 2004)
Another research was made by Chomitz, Virginia R., Slining, Meghan M., McGowan, Robert T., Mitchell, Suzanne E., Dawson, Glen F. and Hacker, Karen A.(2009). The research was aimed to find out the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement in diverse, urban public school children. As a result there was made a conclusion about significant relationships between fitness and academic achievement, but the reasons and objective factors were not cleared out.(Chomitz, et al., 2009)
Another study by Shore Stuart M. et al (2009) was aimed to investigate the relationship between academic results and weight status among students of 6th and 7th grades. The study investigates academic results of three categories of students (nonoverweight, at risk for overweight, and overweight students) in different aspects, such as: average grade point, reading scores, school detentions, school attendance, tardiness to school, physical fitness scores, and participation on school athletic teams. The results showed that middle school students with different body mass indexes has different results and scholastic achievement, attendance and behavior.
But it is necessary to note that some researches and studies, for example Kaestner and Grossman (2008), suggest that, in general, children who are overweight or obese have achievement test scores that are about the same as children with average weight. (Kaestner & Grossman 2008)
So it is possible to conclude that more research is needed to investigate the relationship between educational achievements of children and their body mass index. But it is important to emphasize that the problem of childhood obesity is especially dangerous for children’s health. Therefore, in schools and educational institutions need to monitor not only the academic performance of children and academic results, but also their physical activity and healthy eating. For example, the World Health Organization in 2004 launched an initiative, “Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health”. According to this program was recommended pay attention to children’s health in schools, especially to their nutrition and physical training. Thus, preventive measures in schools, including diet therapy and correction of feeding behavior, can help to prevent obesity among srudents.