According to a new study by the Obesity Journal, obese elementary school students miss a few more days of school on average than average and under weight students.
The question is: Why? Most people would read the statistics behind this poll and automatically think that it would be due to heath problems. Perhaps these overweight children need to go to the doctors more and get sick more because of their unhealthy eating and health state, but although it is not confirmed, bullying may actually be why obese children miss the most days of school. With bullies constantly bothering over weight children by name calling and alienation, this makes obese children feel distressed and not even want to attend school, which is very sad.
“It’s clear in all the literature that the more days of school you miss, it really sets you up for such negative outcomes: drugs and AIDS and (teen) pregnancy,” said Andrew B. Geier, a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania.
“At this early age to show that already they’re missing school, and missing school is such a major setup for big-time problems, that’s something school policy people have to know,” Geier said.
This study, which was done by the Universities of Pennsylvania and Temple, based the study on 1069 fourth and sixth grade students over one academic school year in a total of nine Philadelphia schools. Each school studied took attendance on a daily basis and had recorded the heights and weight of all their students and classified each student into a category or underweight, average, and overweight/obese, based on these records.
After one academic school year was complete, statistics showed that on average underweight children missed 7.5 days, normal weight students missed 10.1 days, over weight children missed 10.9 days, and obese children missed 12.2 school days on average. This higher absentee rate among heavier students proves that fat is the best predictor among absenteeism. This factor also will prove to be the reason why overweight children have lower grades than average weight children, which is because of being absent due to being overweight.
So what was the purpose of this study? Everyone knows that absenteeism from school has been a very critical subject over the years as schools continue to lower the number of days students are allowed to miss. This study will show law makers that much more has to be done to make our children healthier or they will be staying back in school due to this obesity, and it will eventually affect the stability of the United States in the future.
“This is exactly the kind of study that will get the attention of policy makers,” said Jim Bogden, coordinator for the National Association of State Boards of Education. “The correlation with absenteeism is very powerful.”
Hopefully, this study will indeed get the policy maker’s attention.