- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2007

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Obese girls are half as likely to attend college as their non-obese peers, according to a new study.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and tracked nearly 11,000 American adolescents, using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

The study also found obese girls are even less likely to enter college if they attend a high school where obesity is relatively uncommon.

Obese boys did not differ from their non-obese peers in college enrollment, the study found.

“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,” said Robert Crosnoe, author of the study, which appears in the July issue of the journal Sociology of Education.

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