How Childhood Obesity Affects Learning
Various institutions have over the years carried out surveys concluding that obese children tend to find learning more challenging than their slimmer counterparts. Researchers of the Pittsburgh University had carried out analysis of Brain Scans of 94 people who were obese, normal and overweight. It was found that those overweight had 4% less Brain Tissues and those obese had 8% less Brain Tissues than the individuals who were normal weight. As have other countless experts and their studies, suggestions are made that obesity can lead to developmental impairment on the biological level at younger ages especially. Yet the reason is more fundamental, one that has more to do with how the brain works rather than what it works with. Statistics and research can be considered coincidental at best when reasoned with the above logic. Here are 3 ways how childhood obesity affects learning.
While most parents of 4-5 year olds complain of their childrens’ hyper-activity and the constant challenge they face in channeling their energy, parents of obese children rarely ever have to restrain their children in this respect. Most teachers would complain that obese children perform slower than the other students in class at the weekly Spell Test or Math Quiz. All this stems from the lethargy that having excess body fat can cause. Obese children tend to act and sometimes even think at a convenient rate that will not cause them much exertion. One might confuse their lethargy for lack of enthusiasm but an obese child can be just as enthusiastic yet be limited by his physical ability to act on it as fast as his complements.
Their summers will be hotter and their gym classes will be more demanding and that’s not some cosmic injustice. It is quite obvious that a slender body will require less energy to complete a physical work as compared to one that is bogged down with more weight. This is not just a reason for their poor results in sports alone. It holds true for academics as well. A child who returns exhausted from school will barely have any energy to finsh his homework. They tend to find whatever little time possible to rest, this consequentially likens them towards more sedentary activities like watching TV, playing video-games etc. Not having a sufficient amount of physical exercise while playing outdoors and other sports tends to make them duller in their daily studies as well. An active child makes a sharper student than one who prefers to relax it out.
Though they are just as susceptible to communicable diseases spread by germs as children of normal weight their tendency to build an immunity is less due to the lack of physical strength and energy. Beside the above they also tend to suffer from diseases like Diabetes, Thyroid and even Cardiac ailments which may not be hereditary even. A child’s mental health is just as important as his physical health in determining his performance at school. Most obese children suffer from personal image problems and lack of confidence too, hampering their performance in class amongst his peers.
On a conclusive note, obesity may seem harmless at younger ages but as children grow up it certainly affects their learning process.