Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Relationship of Middle School Students' Body Mass Index Percentiles to Academics, Attendance, and Behavior
by Hill, Elizabeth A., Ed.D., Missouri Baptist University, 2012, 143; 3559688
Abstract (Summary)

This mixed-methods study analyzed the relationship between middle-school students' body mass index percentiles and academics, attendance, and behavior and gathered middle school educators' perceptions on a school-based obesity prevention and intervention program. This study consisted of two sections. In the first part of the study, body mass index (BMI) percentiles were utilized as the independent variable. The dependent variables included grade point averages (GPA), Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) standardized scores, average daily attendance (ADA) percentiles, and the frequency of negative office discipline referrals (ODRs) from a total of 454 students in a rural Midwestern public school. These data were represented in a comparison study using the Pearson r correlation coefficient model. A confidence level of 95% was set. The results from the initial part of this study indicated a statistically significant negative relationship (n = 454; r = -0.138; p = 0.003) between BMI and ADA for both males and females. Additionally, it was determined that a statistically significant negative relationship did not exist between the overall student population's BMI and the variables which measure academic performance. However, when the students' weight data were analyzed by gender, a statistically significant negative association (n = 220; r = -0.185; p = 0.006) between the female group's overall BMI and GPA became evident. Lastly, a statistically significant positive correlation was not found between BMI and ODR count for the total student population. Conversely, when this study's data were examined by gender, the female student population exhibited a statistically significant positive correlation (n = 220; r = 0.131; p = 0.05) between BMI and ODR count. In the second part of this study, 42 middle school teachers completed a survey through surveymonkey.com. The quantitative results indicated that the middle school educators' perceptions did not align with the student correlative data. The qualitative portion of the survey was utilized for gathering teacher comments regarding the correlation between childhood obesity and school performance and their thoughts concerning a school-based obesity prevention and intervention program. While the teachers had mixed reactions regarding childhood obesity and school performance, the majority of them responded favorably regarding school-based obesity prevention and intervention.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thebeau, Lydia
Commitee: Christensen, Emily, Danhoff, Guy
School: Missouri Baptist University
Department: Education Division
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle School education, Education Policy, Health education
Keywords: Academics, Attendance, Behavior, Body mass index, Childhood obesity, Middle school
Publication Number: 3559688
ISBN: 9781303049705
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