Social emotional and cognitive functioning of obese and non-obese minority, low SES children
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Ninety-two minority low socioeconomic status (SES) obese children (ages 7-14) (BMI M = 96.9 percentile) attending a weight management program and 93 non-obese children (BMI M = 58.0 percentile) with similar demographics were compared on measures of cognitive and social-emotional functioning using reading and math subscales of the Wide Range Achievement Test 3 and the self-concept, depression and anxiety subscales of the Beck Youth Inventories (BYI), respectively. Analyses revealed no significant differences between obese and non-obese children's reading and math scores. Obese participants, however, displayed significantly more social-emotional difficulties across all BYI subscales. Additionally, obese girls had significantly lower levels of self-concept and higher levels of depressive symptoms than non-obese girls. Findings show that social-emotional functioning is related to obesity, specifically in females, regardless of cognitive functioning, SES and ethnicity.