Researchers at the University of Adelaide, led by Anna Pearce, examined the AEDC outcomes of kindergarten children who were thin, healthy-weight, overweight, or obese.
BMI was used to categorized children as thin, healthy, overweight, or obese based on the International Obesity Task Force age- and sex-specific cut-offs.
Total = 7,553
Thin (416) 6%
Healthy-weight (5,659) 75%
Overweight (1,100) 15%
Obese (358) 5%
What did they find?
|Physical health & well-being||Social competence||Emotional maturity||Language & cognitive skills||Communication & general knowledge||Vulnerable on one or more domains|
Outcomes for thin children were similar to those of healthy-weight children across all domains. In comparison, overweight children had slightly lower risks for developmental vulnerability than their thin and healthy-weight peers. However, the differences were not overly large, especially after controlling for confounding factors. Obese children were more likely to be vulnerable than healthy-weight children. In fact, even after controlling for confounding variables, obese children were twice as likely as healthy-weight children to be developmentally vulnerable on the physical health and well-being domain.
What does it mean?
A wealth of literature shows reducing obesity benefits physical health conditions and life expectancy in adulthood. The findings from this study imply that tackling early childhood obesity may also have positive impacts for child development, leading to improvements in academic achievement.