A recently published study led by CHErIsH post-doctoral researcher Dr. Michelle Queally was the subject of some deserved media attention lately. Michelle’s publication entitled “Low expectations: Do teachers underestimate the ability of overweight children or the children of overweight mothers?” showed that the body mass index (BMI) of a child’s mother may influence a teacher’s perception of that child’s academic ability.
The study was a joint project between NUI Galway and Queen’s University Belfast and show that obesity should not be looked at solely as a health issue but rather one that may have much broader economic implications.
The study notes that the potential for a mother’s weight status, to influence teachers’ perceptions of their children’s ability, could have long-term consequences when it comes to the child’s educational outcome. This is because of the teacher’s role in marking examinations. However, Michelle and her team emphasised that the findings cannot be taken as “definitive proof” that teachers stereotype children based on an assessment of their mother’s BMI.
Media articles on the study can be found here: