Thursday, July 29, 2010

Academic Performance & Childhood Obesity


Contributed by JC Boushh

Research by Dr. Antonio Convit may link academic performance with child obesity. In a recent article in the Huffington Post he shared his findings on the possible negative effects of childhood obesity. Dr. Convit began his research studying childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, and soon began to see a possible correlation with obesity and cognitive learning. He used several research methods to test children’s performance in academic subjects, cognitive functions, and tracked the size mass of the subject’s brains through the use of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).

His research revealed that obese adolescent children did much lower on cognitive testing than adolescent who were not obese. Dr. Convit fears that with the rise of childhood obesity we will begin to see children performance in school actually decrease. The article cites a study by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that found that 40% of children in public schools ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade were obese. As a result of their survey the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommended that all children need to engage in physical activity daily, eat healthy meals, and reduce their intake of surgery beverages. Daily physical activity especially during recess not only helps children combat childhood obesity and the myriad of diseases related to it, but it may also enhance children’s academic performance.