Obese girls less likely to attend college

July 23, 2007

Obese girls are half as likely to attend college as non-obese girls, according to a new study from The University of Texas at Austin.

The study also shows obese girls are even less likely to enter college if they attend a high school where obesity is relatively uncommon. The findings appear in the July issue of the journal Sociology of Education.

The study tracked nearly 11,000 American adolescents, using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

"Obesity has been identified as a serious public health issue, but these results indicate the harmful effects extend far beyond physical health," said Robert Crosnoe, author of the study and a sociologist at the university.

Crosnoe suggests a number of mental health and behavioral issues seem to play a significant role in keeping obese girls from enrolling in college. The study found obese girls were more likely to consider committing suicide, use alcohol and marijuana and have negative self-images.

The disconnect between obesity and college enrollment was more pronounced among non-whites and among girls whose parents did not graduate from college. Obese boys did not differ from their non-obese peers in college enrollment.

"That girls are far more vulnerable to the non-health risks of obesity reinforces the notion that body image is more important to girls' self-concept and that social norms have greater effects on the education of girls than boys," Crosnoe noted.

Source: University of Texas at Austin

Explore further: Teenagers who feel like they don't fit in less likely to attend college, sociologist finds

Related Stories

Recommended for you

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.