Online Program

Examining the effects of body mass index on peer relation competence

Monday, November 4, 2013

Marcelo Schmidt, College of Education, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
Introduction: Being overweight or obese has been found to have detrimental effects on the physiological and psychosocial development of children. One aspect of a child's psychosocial development that may be compromised by being overweight or obese is their ability to establish healthy social relationships. Poor social relationships have been associated with low self-esteem, isolation, and increase in risk related behaviors in children. This study examines the relationship between the condition of being overweight or obese and peer relation competence of children. Method: Data for a nationally representative cohort of fifth grade children were extracted from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Kindergarten class of 1998-1999 and analyzed using SPSS complex samples module to account for survey weights and design effects. Results: The weighted sample reflected a nationally representative population of 3,789,183 fifth-grade children of which 48.1% were female and 51.9% were male. Of these children, 55% fell within a healthy BMI range, 17% were overweight, and 27.7% fell within the obese range. The general linear model analysis found that when controlling for the demographic variables of gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, BMI was found to predict children's peer relation competence F (1, 441) = 7.82, p < .001. Discussion: This study suggests that overweight and obese children are experiencing poorer social relationships than their non-overweight peers. Given the negative health effects associated with poor social relations, concerted efforts must be made to provide children with opportunities to attain ideal body weight which may then enhance their peer relation competence.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the effect of body mass index on peer relation competence of children.

Keyword(s): Child Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This study reflects a portion of my dissertation study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.