Variation by Course Subject in the Association between Obesity and Grade Point Average

Amelia R. Branigan, Northwestern University

In this study I compare the relationship between obesity and grade point average (GPA) in math and English, drawing on education research and feminist theory to suggest systematic differences that may affect GPA for obese students differently by course subject. For White high-school girls, I find a significantly larger penalty of obesity on English GPA than on math GPA, whereas associations for White boys in both subjects are significant but approximately equal in magnitude. I find little evidence of an association between obesity and GPA in either course subject for minority students. The pattern of results observed is consistent with what would be expected if the mechanism driving the association was discrimination, as opposed to omitted variable bias or the medical consequences of obesity.

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Presented in Poster Session 4