Obesity Lowers School Attendance Rates
> 8/13/2007 11:33:15 AM

In yet another unfortunate example of obesity's pervasive influence, statistics reveal that higher BMI numbers coincide with declining school attendance records. Notably overweight children are simply more likely to miss or skip school each day, and the roots of this trend lie not in the physical restrictions and infirmities common to the obese body but the intense social pressures and crippled self-esteem affecting so many overweight kids.

Age, race, socioeconomic status, and gender, are the most common predictors of school attendance records, with young boys from low-income minority families traditionally registering the highest rates of absenteeism, but the trends in this study remained after controlling for these variables, indicating that obesity may be even more influential. This research centered on more than 1,000 Philadelphia schoolchildren attending grades 4 through 6, but obesity's influence on education hardly ends in elementary school: controlling for all variables, college attendance rates among obese females are half that of their non-obese peers. Most overweight teens have yet to reach the point in their development when their BMIs make for serious long-term health problems. The only plausible explanation for given attendance trends is that, in a pattern mirroring that of the younger children, body image and social anxiety leave these girls with severely diminished self-opinions, a reluctance to apply themselves and a  pointed desire to avoid taking risks both social and intellectual. Rates of drug abuse and the influence of suicidal ideation are unfortunately higher among the obese as well (particularly if they happen to be female), but a body shape exceeding one's ideals is not the root of all image issues. Among related groups, significantly underweight females are most likely to abuse drugs or harm themselves.

In a society where the rapid expansion of the national waistline does not coincide with a greater acceptance of larger-than-average sizes, the influence of problem proportions will continue to pervade every facet of one's social, professional and academic life. If one cannot bear to attend school or take part in social activities, the physical condition from which these difficulties stem has, in all likelihood, become a more serious problem. Chronic conditions of anxiety or depression based on one's weight are psychiatric afflictions requiring the attention of a dedicated professional. While the very act of reaching out for help is more difficult for those whose obsessions leave them all but unable to function, speaking to a specialist or counselor is the first and most important step toward a greater sense of self-respect and an ability to live one's life unhindered by the burden of crippling body image issues.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy