Children born with a low birth weight are underperforming at school.Follow this guide to learn a lot .
Children born with a low birth weight have an increased risk of health problems as respiratory distress or early infections in their lives. Researchers at the University of Florida and Northwestern University report that these health issues facing infants from low birth weight face could explain the association between lower birth weight and poorer performance in school these children. The results are published in the journal of The American Economic Review.
In this study, the researchers used a database containing both information about the birth and academic performance of 1.6 million children born in Florida between 1992 and 2002.
Initially, the researchers only examined the data on twins (15,000 pairs) which generally have the same conditions in utero and after birth are evolving in the same socio-economic and cultural context. 53% of twins are born with low birth weight, less than 2.5 kg. There is often, however, one of two children heavier than the other, making of twin births a very interesting study population to monitor school performance based on birth weight. The researchers noticed that the heavier twin was usually better on cognitive tests.
After reviewing the data on twins, the researchers compared their data with single births with low birth weight (less than 2.5 kg) relate only 5.9% of children. The researchers found the same effect of birth weight on school performance in the two populations studied.
The results show that the greater the birth weight is, the better children’s scores in reading and mathematics tests. These results are true for the elementary school and the college and, whatever the quality of the institutions in which children are gone.
“These findings hold true when the socioeconomic and demographic factors are similar between families of children” said Jeffrey Roth, one of the authors of the study. “But when these factors differ, higher birth weight does not always translate into better performance at school.”
“For example, babies with a lower birth weight but having parents with a very good education will tend to perform better in school than a child heavier at birth but whose parents did not go to -delà high school. ” “The level of schooling of the mother is a good predictor of academic success of a child” says Jeffrey Roth. “But when family history is similar, birth weight plays an important role in the prediction of future academic performance.”
According to the researchers, we often tend to think that good schools are places where children with special needs receive special attention and motivated teachers can correct learning problems. “This study shows that this is not always the case. Good schools are good for everyone, but even the best schools can not seem to help children who otherwise leave with disadvantages regarding their health early in their life. ”
“It would be interesting to know whether the modification of certain factors (stress reduction, improved nutrition of pregnant women) that are associated with a higher birth weight would have an impact on cognitive performance,” concludes David Figlio .