MU researcher links childhood obesity, math skills

A University of Missouri researcher reports she has found a link between childhood obesity and poor math skills.

Sara Gable is an associate professor in the university's Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Her research followed more than 6,250 children from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Gable found that both boys and girls considered obese in kindergarten performed worse on math tests starting in first grade. Fewer gaps were seen in children who became obese when they were older.

She concluded the poor math performance was connected in part to feelings of sadness, loneliness and other shortcoming in social skills.

The study was published in the journal Child Development. Gable collaborated with researchers from the University of Vermont and the University of California, Los Angeles.