School performance and body weight affects kids' self-esteem, study shows

January 20, 2009

It's well known that within the adult population body weight and self esteem are very much inter related. But until now, the same wasn't known about children's healthy body weight and its relationship with a positive self-image. Paul Veugelers has changed that.

The University of Alberta researcher recently surveyed nearly 5,000 Grade 5 students in Nova Scotia, asked questions about self-esteem, measured height and weight and linked the results with the standardized provincial exam results.

His findings show that, like adults, body weight affects a child's self-esteem, but contrary to many adults, low self-esteem doesn't lead to weight gain. The results also show that school performance affects self-esteem, but it didn't go the other way; if students had low self-esteem they still managed to perform well in class. Veugelers study also shows that healthy eating and physical activity has a positive effect on school performance.
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His research appeared in the November edition of Obesity Reviews.

University of Alberta

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