Higher weight, lower education: A longitudinal association between adolescents' body mass index and their subsequent educational achievement level?
Number of pages
SourceJournal of School Health, 84, 12, (2014), pp. 769-776
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Journal of School Health
BACKGROUND The purpose of this study was to examine the association between adolescents' body mass index (BMI) z-scores and their subsequent level of schooling, extending previous longitudinal research by using objectively measured weight and height data. METHODS A longitudinal study with 3 study waves (1-year intervals) involving 1248 Dutch adolescents (49% girls; mean age = 13.7 years) at schools providing different educational levels was used to determine adolescents who moved and did not move to a lower educational level in the first year, or in the second year, and to examine whether this movement could be predicted by BMI z-scores (zBMI), after controlling for a large range of potential confounding factors. RESULTS A total of 1164 Dutch adolescents continued in the same level of education, whereas 84 adolescents moved to a lower educational level (43 moved in the first and 41 in the second year). A higher zBMI significantly increased the risk of a general transition to a lower educational level, and of a transition in the first year, but not in the second year, after controlling for potential demographic, behavioral, and psychological confounds. CONCLUSIONS Findings suggest that a higher zBMI during adolescence immediately lowers educational achievement level during general secondary education.
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