Children who start school overweight are more likely to struggle in forming relationships later on in their school life, a new study has claimed.

The study, by the University of Adelaide, looked at the experiences of more than 3,300 children over a period of four years. It found that, by the age of eight or nine, parents of obese children were 15 per cent more likely to describe their children as being isolated or suffer from being teased at school, while teachers were 20 per cent more likely to report that the children had emotional problems.

Professor Michael Sawyer, who led the research, said: "The quality of peer relationships during this period of time has the potential to have a significant impact on children's later mental health."

Professor Christina Camaro said that the results of the study mean that "health care providers need to take weight into consideration at an earlier age, so we can cut it off at the pass before they hit middle school".

Posted by Robert Mair on 05/10/2011

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