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Does overweight impede academic attainment?: a systematic review

Caird, Jenny and Kavanagh, Josephine and O'Mara-Eves, Alison and Oliver, Kathryn and Stansfield, Claire and Oliver, Sandy and Thomas, James (2013) Does overweight impede academic attainment?: a systematic review. Health Education Journal. ISSN 0017-8969. DOI UNSPECIFIED (In Press)

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Abstract

Abstract The objective of this systematic review was to examine evidence from studies exploring the relationship between childhood obesity and educational attainment. Secondary analyses and observational studies published in English after 1997 examining attainment as measured by grade point average or other validated measure, in children aged 6 to16, in high income countries were sought. Eleven databases from the fields of public health, education and social science were searched along with 19 specialist registers and catalogues. Contacting of key researchers and citation searching were undertaken. Two reviewers used standardised tools to independently carry out data extraction and assess the quality of included studies. Evidence was synthesized in a narrative summary. Twenty nine studies were identified for inclusion. Overall, the evidence suggested that higher weight is weakly associated with lower educational attainment among children and young people. Differences between average attainment of overweight and non overweight children were marginal, with potentially negligible real world implications for test scores. Limited evidence suggested that little variation in achievement was explained by weight status alone. Almost half the studies found that other factors, such as socioeconomic status, may better explain much of the negative association between obesity and attainment. Theoretical and methodological inconsistencies were evident both within and between many of the studies. As such, the results of the included studies must be interpreted with caution. If the negative association between obesity and attainment is accepted, it still remains doubtful whether obesity is exerting a socially important effect upon educational attainment.

Item Type: Article
Controlled Keywords: Obesity, Overweight, Health and wellbeing, Learning and outcomes
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Social Science Research Unit
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2013 02:11
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 09:01
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