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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1993 Mar;17(3):169-75.

School difficulties in childhood and risk of overweight and obesity in young adulthood: a ten year prospective population study.

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Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen Health Services, Copenhagen Municipal Hospital, Denmark.


Cross-sectional studies of adult males have shown that intelligence test score and educational level are inversely correlated to obesity. This study prospectively assessed whether school difficulties in the third school grade are related to the risk of overweight and obesity in young adulthood. In 1974, body weight, height and social background were ascertained in 987 randomly-selected Copenhagen third graders. For each child, information about learning difficulties, scholastic proficiency, special education received, scholarly difficulties, reduced hearing, speech handicap, and speech or hearing education received was obtained. When the subjects were 20-21 years old, they reported their height and weight. The risk of being obese (above the 95th percentile of body mass index distribution) in young adulthood was assessed by logistic regression analysis taking social background, body mass index in childhood, and gender into account. The risk of being obese in young adulthood, measured by the odds ratio (OR), was increased if the child had learning difficulties (OR = 4.2; P = 0.0003), scholastic proficiency below the class average (OR = 2.8; P = 0.006), had received special education (OR = 2.7; P = 0.007), or had scholarly difficulties in childhood (OR = 2.9; P = 0.006). Reduced hearing did not increase the risk (OR = 1.5; P = 0.4). The results of the analysis of being overweight (above the 90th percentile) showed statistically weaker odds ratios around two. None of the individuals either having speech handicap or having received speech or hearing training exceeded the 90th percentile of the body mass index distribution in young adulthood.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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