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Obesity in Childhood Associated with Lower Degree of Education

Obesity in childhood may predispose to poor psychosocial health….

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, Sweden, investigated whether or not the completion of secondary school (9 school years) and upper
secondary school (+3y) was lower in children treated for obesity than in matched controls.

A total of 1061 individuals, over 20 years of age at follow-up, from the Swedish childhood obesity treatment registry, BORIS were selected. BMI SDS, median (IQR), was 3.36(1.11), age at last visit was 17.1(2.7). Mean(SD) time from last visit to follow-up was 6.3(3.0) years.

A total of 7780 individuals, matched for gender, age and living area, were randomly selected as controls. They were linked to the national education registry. Level of education at follow-up was divided into; 1 = not graduated from secondary school, 2 = graduated from secondary school, but not started upper secondary school, 3 = started but not graduated from upper secondary school, 4 = graduated from upper secondary school.

The proportion of school completers was much lower among obese cases compared with matched controls. No differences in ethnicity between cases and controls were observed (p = 0.09). Being non-Swedish, was associated with a lower degree of graduating from upper secondary school among the controls (p < 0.001), but not among the cases (p = 0.09). Being a women increased the chance of graduating upper secondary school among both cases (p = 0.006) and controls (p < 0.0001).

The researchers concluded that, “Obesity in childhood is associated with a severely lower educational level. The differences between the groups do not seem to depend upon gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status based on living area.”

The research was presented at the 22nd European Congress on Obesity in Prague, the Czech Republic, May 6-9, 2015.