Increased body weight affects academic performance in university students.

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For K-12 students, obesity has been linked to student educational achievements. The study objective was to determine whether academic performance in university students is correlated with BMI. Students from two consecutive academic years (Jan-May 2013 and Jan-May 2014) were given an optional class survey in May, as extra credit. Of the 452 students that completed the survey, 204 females and 75 males (N = 279; 73% female and 27% male) consented to participate in the study. The number of correct answers to problem-solving questions (PSQs) and the overall final grade for the class were compared to the calculated BMI using linear regression with a Pearson's R correlation and unpaired t-tests. BMI was significantly negatively correlated with student's final grades (P = 0.001 Pearson's r = - 0.190) and PSQs were positively correlated with final grades (P < 0.001; Pearson's r = 0.357). Our findings show a correlation between healthy body weight and improved academic performance. Further, the data suggest that future research in the area of body weight, diet, and exercise and any correlations of these with academic performance in college students are warranted.

BMI, Critical thinking skills, Large lecture class, Obesity