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Tue Jun 19, 2012, 09:36 AM

MU researcher links childhood obesity, math skills

COLUMBIA -- A University of Missouri researcher reports she has found a link between childhood obesity and poor math skills.

Sara Gable is an associate professor in the university’s Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Her research followed more than 6,250 children from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Gable found that both boys and girls considered obese in kindergarten performed worse on math tests starting in first grade. Fewer gaps were seen in children who became obese when they were older.

She concluded the poor math performance was connected in part to feelings of sadness, loneliness and other shortcoming in social skills.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/19/3665148/mu-researcher-links-childhood.html#storylink=cpy

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Reply MU researcher links childhood obesity, math skills (Original post)
proud2BlibKansan Jun 2012 OP
BadgerKid Jun 2012 #1
proud2BlibKansan Jun 2012 #3
Igel Jun 2012 #4
seabeyond Jun 2012 #2
malthaussen Jun 2012 #5
surrealAmerican Jun 2012 #6

Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 10:04 AM

1. Why just math skills?

Seems like the press dumbed down this study. Either that, or this research seems pretty lame for a tenured professor.

Obese in kindergarten, you might not play as much and/or get socially outcast, leading to emotional stress and perhaps general disinterest in being around other kids, especially at school, around whom you feel excluded. You withdraw socially and perhaps academically. Math skills among others suffer.

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Response to BadgerKid (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 10:42 AM

3. Well, that would make more sense.

But then, no offense, but you aren't a researcher at a university.

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Response to BadgerKid (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 12:07 PM

4. Why math skills? Why obesity?

Because that's what the researcher decided to look at, and decided that obesity was the independent variable. And a primary variable. "Link" is such a weasel word.

It's like saying education and life expectancy are linked. Yeah, they're linked. Higher education usually means having better understanding of behaviors and health consequences and acting on that understanding. More education usually means higher income, which allows better quality of life and access to medical care. Higher income jobs are by and large less risky. More education usually has behind it a higher SES in childhood because of higher SES parents, with all the consequences of a healthier childhood.

Yeah, education and life expectancy are linked. But a direct linkage between "I have more information in my head" and "I will live longer" is lacking.

Poor math skills and obesity are linked. The trick is moving from correlation to some kind of primary factor that might indicate causation.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 10:06 AM

2. neither of my kids are overweight. both kids struggle with math. conclusion. they are LAZY

i knew i was right. thank you for the confirmation. i am gonna be all over their ass next school year.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 12:11 PM

5. I'll bet those kids drink milk, too. n/t

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 12:16 PM

6. That's an odd conclusion.

Wouldn't it be more likely that poor early math skills (like the ability to compare quantities) are a contributing factor to obesity?

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