Special Reports

Teachers May Be the Reason For Poor School Performance Of Overweight Children, University Study Suggests


Being overweight or obese has always been considered as a health problem but a study suggests that it can be a determining factor of the poor performance of white female students in school.According to a study conducted by the University of Illinois, the low academic performance can be a result of how educators discriminate girls of various sizes, Science Daily reported.

Based on the ability tests conducted, the obese white girls were seen to have worse test results compared to their normal weight peers, and it could be because, as early as elementary school, obese girls were rated by their teachers as less academically able, according to Amelia Branigan, UIC visiting assistant professor of sociology.

The research found that obesity is linked to a penalty on teachers' evaluations of how the white girls do in English, but not in Math. But there were no penalty observed on the girls that are only overweight but not obese.

Branigan said that obese white girls are only penalized in "female" course subjects like English, and that means, being obese is being judged in settings where there is a higher expectation for girls to be more stereotypically feminine. She also said that in the efforts to combat obesity, there should also be the same level of efforts to fight negative social perceptions about obese individiuals.

Similar results were found in a similar study conducted by the University of Birmingham. The 2015 research suggests that students who were classified as obese tend to be awarded with lower grades, according to Mirror, even if there were really no differences in intelligence or consciousness. The researchers believe that low expectations from these students and the attitude of teachers against obese individuals play a significant role.

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