Obesity impairs academic attainment in adolescence: findings from ALSPAC, a UK cohort

J N Booth, P D Tomporowski, J M E Boyle, A R Ness, C Joinson, S D Leary, J J Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While being overweight or obese in adolescence may have detrimental effects on academic attainment, the evidence base is limited by reliance on cross-sectional studies with small sample sizes, failure to take account of confounders and lack of consideration of potential mediators. The present study aimed to address these limitations and examine longitudinal associations between obesity in adolescence and academic attainment. Associations between weight status at 11 years old and academic attainment assessed by national tests at 11, 13 and 16 years were examined in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Healthy weight was defined as body mass index (BMI) Z-score <1.04; overweight as BMI Z-score 1.04-1.63; obesity as BMI Z-score 1.64.  Data from 5966 participants with objectively measured weight status were examined: 71.4% were healthy weight (1935 males; 2325 females), 13.3% overweight (372 males; 420 females) and 15.3% obese (448 males; 466 females).  Girls obese at 11 years had lower academic attainment at 11, 13 and 16 years compared with those of a healthy weight, even after controlling for a wide range of confounders. Associations between obesity and academic attainment were less clear in boys. The potential mediating effects of depressive symptoms, intelligence quotient (IQ) and age of menarche in girls were explored, but when confounders were included, there was no strong evidence for mediation.  For girls, obesity in adolescence has a detrimental impact on academic attainment 5 years later. Mental health, IQ and age of menarche did not mediate this relationship, suggesting that further work is required to understand the underlying mechanisms. Parents, education and public health policy makers should consider the wide reaching detrimental impact of obesity on educational outcomes in this age group.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1335-1342
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Volume38
Issue number10
Early online date11 Mar 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2014

Fingerprint

Obesity
Weights and Measures
Menarche
Body Mass Index
Pediatric Obesity
Intelligence
Parents
Public Policy
Health Policy
Administrative Personnel
Sample Size
Longitudinal Studies
Mental Health
Public Health
Age Groups
Cross-Sectional Studies
Depression
Education

Keywords

  • obesity
  • academic attainment
  • adolescence

Cite this

Booth, J N ; Tomporowski, P D ; Boyle, J M E ; Ness, A R ; Joinson, C ; Leary, S D ; Reilly, J J. / Obesity impairs academic attainment in adolescence : findings from ALSPAC, a UK cohort. In: International Journal of Obesity. 2014 ; Vol. 38, No. 10. pp. 1335-1342.
@article{04071690af80491082c45eaf4b645e2f,
title = "Obesity impairs academic attainment in adolescence: findings from ALSPAC, a UK cohort",
abstract = "While being overweight or obese in adolescence may have detrimental effects on academic attainment, the evidence base is limited by reliance on cross-sectional studies with small sample sizes, failure to take account of confounders and lack of consideration of potential mediators. The present study aimed to address these limitations and examine longitudinal associations between obesity in adolescence and academic attainment. Associations between weight status at 11 years old and academic attainment assessed by national tests at 11, 13 and 16 years were examined in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Healthy weight was defined as body mass index (BMI) Z-score <1.04; overweight as BMI Z-score 1.04-1.63; obesity as BMI Z-score 1.64.  Data from 5966 participants with objectively measured weight status were examined: 71.4{\%} were healthy weight (1935 males; 2325 females), 13.3{\%} overweight (372 males; 420 females) and 15.3{\%} obese (448 males; 466 females).  Girls obese at 11 years had lower academic attainment at 11, 13 and 16 years compared with those of a healthy weight, even after controlling for a wide range of confounders. Associations between obesity and academic attainment were less clear in boys. The potential mediating effects of depressive symptoms, intelligence quotient (IQ) and age of menarche in girls were explored, but when confounders were included, there was no strong evidence for mediation.  For girls, obesity in adolescence has a detrimental impact on academic attainment 5 years later. Mental health, IQ and age of menarche did not mediate this relationship, suggesting that further work is required to understand the underlying mechanisms. Parents, education and public health policy makers should consider the wide reaching detrimental impact of obesity on educational outcomes in this age group.",
keywords = "obesity, academic attainment, adolescence",
author = "Booth, {J N} and Tomporowski, {P D} and Boyle, {J M E} and Ness, {A R} and C Joinson and Leary, {S D} and Reilly, {J J}",
year = "2014",
month = "4",
day = "8",
doi = "10.1038/ijo.2014.40",
language = "English",
volume = "38",
pages = "1335--1342",
journal = "International Journal of Obesity",
issn = "0307-0565",
number = "10",

}

Obesity impairs academic attainment in adolescence : findings from ALSPAC, a UK cohort. / Booth, J N; Tomporowski, P D; Boyle, J M E; Ness, A R; Joinson, C; Leary, S D; Reilly, J J.

In: International Journal of Obesity, Vol. 38, No. 10, 08.04.2014, p. 1335-1342.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Obesity impairs academic attainment in adolescence

T2 - International Journal of Obesity

AU - Booth, J N

AU - Tomporowski, P D

AU - Boyle, J M E

AU - Ness, A R

AU - Joinson, C

AU - Leary, S D

AU - Reilly, J J

PY - 2014/4/8

Y1 - 2014/4/8

N2 - While being overweight or obese in adolescence may have detrimental effects on academic attainment, the evidence base is limited by reliance on cross-sectional studies with small sample sizes, failure to take account of confounders and lack of consideration of potential mediators. The present study aimed to address these limitations and examine longitudinal associations between obesity in adolescence and academic attainment. Associations between weight status at 11 years old and academic attainment assessed by national tests at 11, 13 and 16 years were examined in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Healthy weight was defined as body mass index (BMI) Z-score <1.04; overweight as BMI Z-score 1.04-1.63; obesity as BMI Z-score 1.64.  Data from 5966 participants with objectively measured weight status were examined: 71.4% were healthy weight (1935 males; 2325 females), 13.3% overweight (372 males; 420 females) and 15.3% obese (448 males; 466 females).  Girls obese at 11 years had lower academic attainment at 11, 13 and 16 years compared with those of a healthy weight, even after controlling for a wide range of confounders. Associations between obesity and academic attainment were less clear in boys. The potential mediating effects of depressive symptoms, intelligence quotient (IQ) and age of menarche in girls were explored, but when confounders were included, there was no strong evidence for mediation.  For girls, obesity in adolescence has a detrimental impact on academic attainment 5 years later. Mental health, IQ and age of menarche did not mediate this relationship, suggesting that further work is required to understand the underlying mechanisms. Parents, education and public health policy makers should consider the wide reaching detrimental impact of obesity on educational outcomes in this age group.

AB - While being overweight or obese in adolescence may have detrimental effects on academic attainment, the evidence base is limited by reliance on cross-sectional studies with small sample sizes, failure to take account of confounders and lack of consideration of potential mediators. The present study aimed to address these limitations and examine longitudinal associations between obesity in adolescence and academic attainment. Associations between weight status at 11 years old and academic attainment assessed by national tests at 11, 13 and 16 years were examined in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Healthy weight was defined as body mass index (BMI) Z-score <1.04; overweight as BMI Z-score 1.04-1.63; obesity as BMI Z-score 1.64.  Data from 5966 participants with objectively measured weight status were examined: 71.4% were healthy weight (1935 males; 2325 females), 13.3% overweight (372 males; 420 females) and 15.3% obese (448 males; 466 females).  Girls obese at 11 years had lower academic attainment at 11, 13 and 16 years compared with those of a healthy weight, even after controlling for a wide range of confounders. Associations between obesity and academic attainment were less clear in boys. The potential mediating effects of depressive symptoms, intelligence quotient (IQ) and age of menarche in girls were explored, but when confounders were included, there was no strong evidence for mediation.  For girls, obesity in adolescence has a detrimental impact on academic attainment 5 years later. Mental health, IQ and age of menarche did not mediate this relationship, suggesting that further work is required to understand the underlying mechanisms. Parents, education and public health policy makers should consider the wide reaching detrimental impact of obesity on educational outcomes in this age group.

KW - obesity

KW - academic attainment

KW - adolescence

UR - http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v38/n10/abs/ijo201440a.html

U2 - 10.1038/ijo.2014.40

DO - 10.1038/ijo.2014.40

M3 - Article

VL - 38

SP - 1335

EP - 1342

JO - International Journal of Obesity

JF - International Journal of Obesity

SN - 0307-0565

IS - 10

ER -