Researchers from the University of Texas studied over 11,000 American adolescents and found that girls who were obese, with the highest end of the body mass index (BMI), were less likely than their peers to attend college following secondary schooling. He chances for these girls were even slimmer if they attended high schools where obesity wasn’t that common.

Researchers speculate about a few causes as to why this may be so. Some of the factors included girls being more focused on their bodies and appearance and that it is very likely that their self-perception has a greater effect on their education. The study findings also showed that girls were more likely to consider committing suicide, have negative self-images, and use alcohol and marijuana.

On the other hand, obesity was not a factor to a college enrolment for boys. Obese boys did not differ from their peers regarding the education and school they chose.

The study authors cited that fitting in with the peers at high-school may play a big role to the adolescents’ educational pathways and that risks associated with challenges should be studies further. Some of the most important questions should be: “Why does obesity affect college enrolment? In what contexts are the effects most common? And for whom are the effects most common?”