Teachers Tend To Give Overweight Students Lower Grades

Educators tend to award overweight children lower grades, which has the potential to effect them negatively in both the immediate and longterm

Jun 05, 2015 at 5:07 PM ET

Several studies of school-aged children have shown a correlation between high body weight and average-to-poor academic performance. However, additional research into the area shows that overweight children aren’t predisposed to lower IQs any more than their slimmer counterparts, it’s that their teachers are more likely to give them worse grades.

An analysis of studies by The Conversation suggests that “anti-fat attitudes” are largely to blame. The article cites a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, released last month, which tracked 3,300 kindergarteners over a ten-year period. Researchers tested participants at ages 10-to-11 and 12-to-13 on math and reading skills. They discovered that weight made no difference when it came to the test scores, but it did alter the way teachers viewed and graded their students—the higher a pupil’s BMI, the worse their grades.

And it’s not just the teachers. In other studies, weight-related bullying by peers are linked to a drop in grades and greater incidence of anxiety and depression.

These trends appear to continue on into adulthood. There has been an increase in weight-related discrimination among teachers and professors in high school and college. Adults who are overweight also generally have fewer years of schooling and face prejudice in the workplace, when it comes to hiring practices and salary expectation, leading to poorer economic prospects.

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Why do heavier children do worse at school? It’s not their fault (The Conversation)
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