Longitudinal associations between childhood obesity and academic achievement: systematic review with focus group data

Anne Martin, Josephine N. Booth, Sarah McGeown, Ailsa Niven, John Sproule, David H. Saunders, John J. Reilly

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The purposes of this study were to review the evidence on longitudinal associations between child and adolescent obesity and academic achievement and to provide perceptions of adolescents with obesity and their parents on this topic.
Recent Findings
Synthesis of 31 studies (from 17 cohorts) suggested that relationships between obesity and academic achievement are not well established, except for adolescent girls’ maths attainment, potentially mediated by both weight-related bullying and executive cognitive functions. Focus groups with adolescent girls with obesity confirmed experiences of psychosocial distress at school particularly during Physical Education. Adolescents perceived that obesity was not related to academic achievement directly, but by their attitude to school.
Interventions are warranted to promote psychosocial wellbeing and cognitive abilities linked to academic achievement in adolescent girls with obesity. Physical Education should be a positive experience for children and adolescents with obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalCurrent Obesity Reports
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2017


  • children
  • adolescents
  • obesity
  • academic achievement
  • systematic review
  • longitudinal cohort studies

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