The study explored the role of working memory in moderating the relationship between academic performance and childhood obesity.
The obese and overweight children demonstrate poor working memory that can contribute to lower educational achievements than that of normal-weight kids.
The variables of interest in the present study include BMI, working memory, and academic performance. Specifically, the dependent variable was the academic performance, and the independent variables were BMI and working memory.
The study participants were school students aged between ten and thirteen years. The participants were required to take the digit span memory task as a measure for their working memory. The group took three tests in which they were required to remember the image-generated numbers after some seconds. The investigators also measured the height and the weight of the children to determine their BMI. In furtherance, each participant filled a questionnaire regarding his/her socioeconomic status and school performance.
The findings of the study supported the hypothesis. The normal-weight, overweight, and obese children showed differences regarding academic performance. Obese kids showed poorer performance with respect to working memory tests. As such, working memory had a moderating effect on the association between academic achievement and obesity.
The study had several limitations that can affect the credibility of the results. Multiple elements predict the low educational attainment in obese kids, and thus, working memory has a limited contribution to academic performance. In furtherance, the authors did not use optimal sample sizes in their study. The study could be improved by eliminating such limitations. Further studies should examine the moderating effect of working memory using a larger sample and evaluate other factors to help elucidate the relationship.
Wu, N., Chen, Y., Yang, J., & Li, F. (2017). Childhood obesity and academic performance: The role of working memory. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 611.