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French Scientists Link Higher BMI with Lower IQ 728

Posted by timothy
from the hey-I-resemble-that-remark dept.
Xemu writes "French scientists have linked obesity to lower IQ reports the Telegraph. In a new five-year study of more than 2,200 adults, people with a low body mass index (BMI) could recall 30% more words in a vocabulary test than those who were obese. The fatter subjects also showed a higher rate of cognitive decline when they were retested five years later. In the United States, 30% of the population is obese according to OECD. That's the highest rate of obesity anywhere. Do these high obesity rates affect the average IQ of the population?" (Of course, this sidesteps discussion of whether IQ tests measure anything significant at all.)
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French Scientists Link Higher BMI with Lower IQ

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  • BMI = Worthless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smidge204 (605297) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:24PM (#16446171) Journal
    (Of course, this sidesteps discussion of whether IQ tests measure anything significant at all.)

    This also seems to sidestep discussion of whether BMI measures anything significant at all.
    =Smidge=
  • by malsdavis (542216) * on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:28PM (#16446221)
    Indeed, Timothy does oversimplify the matter.

    It is slightly beside the point though because the study noticed a drop in 'cognitive function' in obese people, not IQ. Cognitive function most certainly is significant, albeit specifically to the function measured (which in this case was primarily arthmimetic and vocabulary). It was only the reporting newspaper which introduced IQ, probably for the benefit of dumber/fatter readers.
  • by RsG (809189) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:29PM (#16446231)
    Not the study, but rather the first linked article.

    First, they make the classic error of attributing causation when the study found correlation. If that was in the original study, then I'd question the researcher's methodology, but I suspect the blame lies with whoever wrote the article. Testing people's intelligence and comparing their weight does not show a causitive link between wieght and intellect. It could just as easily show that poor judgement translates into bad eating habits and low IQ.

    Second, the criticism they reported came from a politician who tried to use anecdotal evidence to debunk the link. That's right, she said she knew witless skinny people and clever fat people, so the study must therefor be wrong. Someone ought to tell her that the plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence".
  • I dunno (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:30PM (#16446241) Journal
    Can we draw any real conclusions without knowing their testing methodology, etc etc etc. How'd they normalize their data?

    This last bit from the TFA sums up how I feel about it:
    "But Ann Widdecombe, the former Tory minister, said that the research seemed unsustainable. "You just need to look around the world and you will see hundreds of thin nitwits and clever fat people,""

    It is worth pointing out that good looks & a tall height can be as relevant to your success in life as your weight.
  • by nametaken (610866) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:30PM (#16446249)
    IQ testing issues aside, the summary suggests results for memory recall... not IQ.
  • by Goosey (654680) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:30PM (#16446251) Homepage
    IANAOR (I am not an obesity researcher), but it seems to be that this does not indicate lower IQ, but rather a lower energy level. I think it is a rather uncontroversial statement that those suffering from obesity have a much lower level of energy. I have experienced it myself during extended periods (several weeks or more) of not having regular exercise: You become lethargic, tired, and find it difficult to concentrate on things. I would imagine that this is a good indication of why those suffering obesity would score poorer on an IQ test.
  • Link with poverty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr. Spork (142693) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:31PM (#16446261)
    In most industrialized countries and especially in the US, obesity is strongly correlated with low income. Since there is also a strong link between low income and low IQ scores, there may be no causal relationship at all between obesity and a lowered IQ.
  • Re:The average IQ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fireduck (197000) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:32PM (#16446275)
    That can't be true. Modern medical advances, as well and sanitation, have raised the average life expectancy in the U.S. considerably over the past hundred years. So, an average certainly can be raised or lowered, but it still doesn't change the fact that half the population lies on either side of it (well, that's really the median, but I'm not going to be that picky.)
  • by ClosedSource (238333) * on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:35PM (#16446305)
    I know of no comprehensive definition of intelligence that is agreed upon by a majority of scientists, but if you have evidence to the contrary feel free to provide it. Obviously, there isn't going to be any scientific definition of "success in the real world".

  • by NosTROLLdamus (979044) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:36PM (#16446319) Journal
    My IQ is only 100 but I am a lot smarter than most people for my 'low' IQ.

    Sorry, fatty, but everybody thinks they're smarter than everyone else. Everbody. It's okay though, you can take solace in the fact that everyone has the same lame excuses for their short comings.

  • Re:Jokes! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sTalking_Goat (670565) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:36PM (#16446327) Homepage
    Yeah, what no one bothers to go into is that the Americans tried pencils, but realized that broken pencil points would float away and get into everything, possibly harming delicate electronics...
  • by AxemRed (755470) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:36PM (#16446335)
    There are probably other factors involved here. For example, poverty has also been linked to obesity (in America.) And less intelligence can also be linked to poverty.

    So does obesity somehow lead to mental decline? Or are people who are less intelligent more likely to let their physical health deteriorate?
    Or maybe less intelligence leads to poverty which leads to obesity. Then again, it could be the other way around...

    Correlation does not equal causation. If I had to place a bet, I would say that the link between obesity and intelligence isn't biological like the article is inferring. There may be some kind of link there, but I bet that other factors are more influential.
  • Causality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sc0p3 (972992) <jaredbroadNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:37PM (#16446345) Homepage Journal
    This is probably mistaking causality.

    Being overweight doesn't make you stupid,

    being stupid means you have higher chance of getting over weight because you don't monitor diet/understand proper eating.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:41PM (#16446401)
    Bush was elected TWICE (or allowed to take office twice, anyway)... what do YOU think?

    What do I think? .....

    I think you are probably fat. :P
  • Re:Fat and Stupid? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:44PM (#16446439)
    Ha! (+3 : Interesting)

    I love mods with a sense of humor. But cmon, why not 'Informative'?

  • Re:IQ Tests (Score:3, Insightful)

    by r00t (33219) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:48PM (#16446451) Journal
    Even if not, the comment is idiotic.

    It's sour grapes, political correctness, and anti-science. We damn well do know that people with high IQ are usually more successful than those with low IQ. This is especially true if you compare an IQ 80 person to an IQ 115 person. (rather than 140 and 170, where social problems can make things interesting)

    IQ is unpopular because it is mostly in-born, inheritable, and unevenly distributed. There is a sort of unfairness that goes against Western ideals. The idea that anybody can pull themself up out of poverty, that every child has a chance to succeed intellectually, is threatened by this. Part of the reaction is to deny IQ, and part of the reaction is to de-emphasize scientific endeavors and thinking.

    Funny, we have no problem with the advantages which athletic and beautiful people have. These are somewhat related to IQ though, via general health, helping us to remain in denial of IQ.
  • by Sique (173459) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:49PM (#16446461) Homepage
    It's the same as with the correlation of storks and newborn children: If you have many storks in a region, you can expect higher birthrates. This correlation is correct. It does not mean that the stork carries the newborn. Storks breed in rural areas, where they find their prey (mostly frogs and small rodents), and people in rural areas also tend to have more children than people living in cities.

    So obesity is (at least in Western and Central Europe, the study is french after all!) negatively correlated with the social status. People with low income tend to be more obese than people with high income. People with a high IQ also tend to have higher income than people with a lower IQ. Thus both correlations together tell you, that obese people have in average a lower IQ. If there is a causality, it may be this: Lower IQ -> lower wages -> more prone to obesity.
  • by bananaendian (928499) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:49PM (#16446475) Homepage Journal

    Obesity leads to poor health which leads to diffuculty in concentration, stress, lower attention span etc. Also obese people are (statistically) less educated, with lower self-esteem etc. All of which correlate very well with the findings of this study. In otherwords obesity correlates well with doing badly in tests (IQ or any) for various reasons - it does not lower your IQ.

    Any qualified sociologist could've made a fairly accurate hypothesis for the results of that study. But that's boring so people will want to see something in it ...

    Oh well..

    Dr. Doh! (NIMNO)
    National reseach Institute for the Mind Numblingly Obvious

  • Re:Not hiring! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @05:53PM (#16446509)
    I'm never hiring a fat person again. They have no self disipline.

    I don't believe you're in a position to hire anybody. Otherwise you would realize that:

    - what you just said is against the law (equal opportunity employment laws)
    - you're implying that 30% of the United States have no self discipline, which is obviously stupid

    I'll tell you another thing, something that I know first hand: I tend to gain weight easily. Before I left the US, I was very careful with my diet, but still had a hard time not making lard. Why? because it's just not very easy to find healthy food in the US. Now that I'm in Europe, I have easy access to healthier food and I have no trouble maintaining a decent weight.

    You have to realize healthy food is hard to come by in the US: lean meat is virtually non-existant, dairy products from from hormone-injected cows, veggies have all kinds of pesticide on them, packaged products are laced with all kinds of unhealthy fat and sugars, etc... So while it's definitely not an excuse for fat people, the food available in the US is an additional hurdle if they try to loose weight.
  • by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak.eircom@net> on Sunday October 15, 2006 @06:07PM (#16446631) Homepage Journal
    There are decades of data to prove the corellation between IQ and actual, demonstrated intelligence and success in the real world.
    IQ measures academic performance/potential. That's all it measures. If good academic achievement leads to success in the "real world" then yes, IQ will measure your potential for such success. However it does not. MBAs are far, far more successful than most academics will ever be, and MBAs are hardly our best and brightest.
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Sunday October 15, 2006 @06:13PM (#16446689) Journal
    It also depends how you define success.

    To be honest, although most MBAs might be successful at gaining money, they are often not particularly successful in terms of being contented. There's not much point in being rich if the result is stress and unhappiness.
  • by malsdavis (542216) * on Sunday October 15, 2006 @06:24PM (#16446757)
    "Correlation does not equal causation. [...] There may be some kind of link there, but I bet that other factors are more influential." yada yada yada, I think I know everything!

    I can't stand posts like this. You obviously have not read the academic report and therefor your conclusion about its fallacy are completely worthless. I have not read the actual report either but to hear you make an instant "it's probably due to this other factor" summary about something you have obviously not even read is infuriating!

    The primary task of academic studies is to identify the true reason for an observed correlation. Every researcher knows that "Correlation does not equal causation" and the fact that the report has been published in a respected journal means for definate that the researchers have taken steps to ensure other obvious factors - like the ones you mention - are accounted for.
  • by BeeBeard (999187) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @06:54PM (#16446981)
    For starters, let me disabuse you of the notion that I spend my evenings looking through the dirt-stained glass of an abandoned feed factory, breath frosting up the glass, spying on the secret meetings of the local MENSA chapter and hoping against hope that this week--oh god let it be this week--will be my chance to finally get admitted.

    I actually have received invitations to attend MENSA meetings in the past, but have always declined. (Is that how recruitment is done? God only knows.) I politely say that I have a "differing philosophy". Namely, I believe that intelligence and success should be measured in terms of real, humanistic achievement in the real world, and not by corny metrics that determine whether or not a person should be admitted to a shamelessly self-promotional smarty-pants club. But of course I don't say all that. Politely declining the invitation is really enough.

    I know that must just fry you--that there are people out there in the world who are at least reasonably smart and reasonably socialized, and who look at their introverted and prideful intelligent brothers with pity. It may seem at odds with what I read as teenage angst, but I assure you we exist.

    And speaking of teenage angst, you might want to stop using the lexicon of a teenager. "Jocks"..."frat guys"...it's the language of someone who still thinks of people in terms of symbolic high school lunch tables (i.e. somebody not all that smart after all). If you're just some silly immature kid (I understand that about half of Slashdot readers fit that description)--then you get a free pass, because that's all you've seen so far in terms of how people organize themselves. But if not, then, well, there's that whole pity thing again. To phrase this in terms you've voluntarily adopted, I am no jock, or frat-guy, or anything else. I sit at everyone's lunch table, and I don't use their interests as some kind of bogus reason to judge and dismiss them.

    So I guess to be more crass about things, that, my boy, is why I haven't joined your fruity little club.

    Good luck--may your false pride and wanton disdain for others take you to great new heights.
  • Re:BMI = Worthless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by griffjon (14945) <`GriffJon' `at' `gmail.com'> on Sunday October 15, 2006 @06:57PM (#16446995) Homepage Journal
    All of this conveniently ignores that correlation is not causation. maybe being stupid correlates with not taking care of yourself? Maybe they're both caused by a third variable (perhaps watching too much TV?)
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @06:58PM (#16447013) Journal
    I'd imagine that "success in the real world" implies high earning and/otr high aademic qualifications. And there probably is a correlation between this and a high IQ.

    It is also true that some people are extremely intelligent by most tests, but have a low IQ. Of course, BMI is similar. Power lifters have an abnormally high BMI, but that weight is all muscle, so could not possibly be considered obese. But it doesn't matter when you have a large enough sample. These anomolies are statisically insignificant.
  • by irritating environme (529534) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:04PM (#16447061)
    BMI and IQ aren't perfect measurements of their stated goal. They at least provide an approximation though.

    It is the people who don't think they mean anything at all usually are either fat or stupid.
  • Re:BMI = Worthless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rjstanford (69735) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:10PM (#16447115) Homepage Journal
    I used to be in the "BMI == Worthless" camp myself. Had all sorts of reasons why it was bunk, used to be able to quote muscle density, et cetera, just like everyone else on here.

    Then I grew up and lost over 80 pounds.

    Anyone who show as "obese" on the BMI charts but has enough muscle to throw things off is obviously either way toned, or way strong. Seriously. If you're an average person, even a once or twice a week gym habit, and you show as obese... then you're 99% probably fat. Grow up and admit it. Especially in the USA, "normal," is a long way from "fit." The vast, vast majority of people with high BMIs are fat, end of story.

    Sure, Tom Cruise is the poster child for "overweight by BMI standards." He's obviously not. If you can see your sculpted abs, you probably aren't as well. Otherwise, you are. Deal with it.

    If you want to ignore it, that's your decision. Be overweight. But stop pretending you're not. And also, more to the point, stop trying to convince everybody else that they're not overweight because you can't deal with your own issues. And yes, that is a more generic rant than just one aimed at the parent poster, but its still true.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:13PM (#16447151)
    I mean consider the cost of good food vs bad food. I can go to McDonalds and get 2 double cheese burgers for $2 and some change. That's enough to fill me up for lunch and I'm a big guy. It's also a ton of fat and calories. Now let's say I want to go get a nice chicken salad from any of the number of places that serve them. That starts at about $6 and can be as much as $10. Also it's not going to fill me quite as much as the burgers.

    Is it any wonder those with lower income would opt for the McDonalds food?

    Addi tonally, many lower wage earners need to work longer hours or more jobs to make ends meet, which again tips the scale in favour of unhealthy food. Sure I can make a nice chicken and rice dinner that's pretty healthy for not too much money. However, it'll take me an hour or so to do. Not a problem if you work 40 hours a week, but if you are just ending a 10+ hour day? Forget it, you stop at the first fast food place on the way and grab that.

    So if I were to guess I'd say that is a major factor. The less you make the harder it is to eat well. There also may be something to lower IQ translating to worse decision making capabilities, but I'm betting the economic reality of the situation is the main factor.
  • Mutual Admiration (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:14PM (#16447161) Journal
    No kidding. Probably few people who are truly intelligent want much to do with a mutual admiration society for people who do well on tests. They prefer the company of people who accomplish things.


    And I'm not just saying that cause I was rejected. No, really.

  • Re:IQ Tests (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Garse Janacek (554329) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:26PM (#16447261)

    We damn well do know that people with high IQ are usually more successful than those with low IQ.

    True, but (as shouldn't even have to be pointed out in this discussion) correlation does not imply causation. Specifically: when people are given better education, their IQ increases. IQ is decidedly not (as you claim) "mostly in-born [and] inheritable" unless you really believe that there is a measurable sense in which whites are inherently (on average) intellectually superior to blacks and hispanics in the United States.

    Now, even aside from any issues of political correctness, I hope you aren't in fact claiming that, because it's been pretty thoroughly refuted. If you take someone (of any race) out of poverty and give them a good education, their average IQ increases dramatically. While in any group (including those in poverty) there will be certain extraordinary individuals who have a high IQ (or whatever positive attribute you're measuring) despite all disadvantages, the frequency of these individuals goes up an awful lot if you take away the disadvantages in the first place.

    The reason some people dislike IQ, or claim it does not measure anything useful, is that most discussions about it implicitly assume that it succeeds in its goal of measuring intellectual capacity independently of cultural and educational factors. In this it fails completely. Which doesn't mean that it isn't measuring anything useful, but your comment shows there are still plenty of people who think IQ is some sort of "in-born" attribute. It's not.

    There is a sort of unfairness that goes against Western ideals. The idea that anybody can pull themself up out of poverty, that every child has a chance to succeed intellectually, is threatened by this.

    I'm actually kind of with you on this. I don't think the world is as fair as a lot of people would like to believe, and I don't think that anyone can pull themselves out of poverty, everyone has a chance to succeed, etc. -- and even though I think IQ is (mostly) bunk, I think some amount of intelligence is inborn. But nowhere near all. Even people who could have been very successful intellectually can fail because of their surroundings. All of which suggests, to me anyway, that it is important to do what we can to help others out of poverty and to provide children with good educations, since they may not be able to attain these things themselves regardless of their actions (that is, unlike some Americans, I don't see poverty as a moral failing).

    But, as I said, the fact that the world isn't fair doesn't mean it's unfair in the particular way you suggest, that is, that IQ is an innate property transcending culture, language, and education, and rich folks just happen to be innately the smartest.

  • by try_anything (880404) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:29PM (#16447303)
    IQ measures academic performance/potential. That's all it measures.

    It has some power to predict academic performance, but that is not what it is designed to measure. Nor is it particularly good at it. Just as in business, non-IQ abilities (hard work, emotional strength, social skills, mental stamina, valuing achievement and status) play a role in academic success. Predicting academic performance from IQ is like predicting a car's range from its engine efficiency.

    MBAs are far, far more successful than most academics will ever be

    It depends on what you mean by success :-) If by success you mean money and coercive power over people, then yes, MBAs tend to be more successful than PhDs. When they say that academic politics are nasty because the stakes are so small, they mean that there is less of that kind of "success" to go around, and people with an appetite for it are bitterly unhappy in academia.

    Fortunately, most academics measure themselves differently :-)

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:35PM (#16447349) Homepage Journal
    I know that must just fry you--that there are people out there in the world who are at least reasonably smart and reasonably socialized, and who look at their introverted and prideful intelligent brothers with pity.

    Introverts are to be pitied?

    Unsurprisingly, this is coming from a man who steals his neighbour's mail and makes fun of how nerds dress. Clearly, your feelings of superiority are quite warranted.

    your false pride and wanton disdain for others

    Yeaaaah... about that: takes one to know one.
  • Re:The average IQ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by try_anything (880404) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:52PM (#16447501)
    It makes as much sense to say that the average IQ never changes as it makes to say that the US dollar never changes its value. It's always worth a dollar, right?

    The score on an IQ test is relative to the sample the scoring method was calibrated against. If I go into a room and take an IQ test by myself, will I automatically be assigned a score of 100? No. I'll be given a score that indicates how I compare to a reference sample. Since some popular tests remain in use for decades, and correlations between new tests and old tests are carefully studied, it is quite possible to assign IQs to members of a sample S according to a scale calibrated for a mean of 100 on a different sample S'. Then there is no guarantee that the mean IQ over S is 100.

    That means you can estimate (presumably by some statistical method based on correlations between modern IQ tests and those given fifty years ago) the mean IQ of current testees on a scale calibrated to data from fifty years ago, or vice-versa.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 15, 2006 @08:08PM (#16447621)
    MENSA is for the people that need to belong to an organization in order to feel smart and have something to brag about.

    The people I've known that had a MENSA membership were the borderline smart people if you would. They're not the people that're going to go out and do something neat. They'll probably be a slightly above-average employee. Not saying that they're dumb, but they're also not the people that you look at and think, "Wow, that guy's bright!"
  • by geobeck (924637) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @08:26PM (#16447751) Homepage

    ...the study noticed a drop in 'cognitive function' in obese people...

    Even that oversimplifies the situation. The study tied memory recall to high BMI, not to obesity. A high BMI does not necessarily make someone obese. I'm 5'8" and 190 pounds (173cm and 86kg for those outside North America), and my BMI says I'm not far from being obese. But I wear size 33 jeans (84cm). A lot of people I know have similar proportions.

    So the question is, did this researcher choose people who were visibly obese for his high-BMI subjects, or did he mix in any muscular participants? Were all of the "fat people" pear-shaped, or were there a representative number of beer guts? Without that information, his results are worthless because they do not compensate for body morphology.

    Then again, maybe the fact that steroids make you stupid would cancel some of the bias. ;)

  • by b17m4p (1007505) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @08:43PM (#16447865)
    It seems more likely that a low IQ would, in general, contribute to a persons lack of self control and cause a higher chance of being ob ease. Rather than a persons BMI affecting there intelligence.
  • by Gorimek (61128) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @09:09PM (#16448037) Homepage
    So BMI isn't perfect. But it's clearly better than pure weight numbers, since it's adjusted for height.

    Do you have an alternative easily computed number you think better measures obesity?

    Or do you just think we should not try to measure it?
  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Sunday October 15, 2006 @09:46PM (#16448263) Journal
    It took me a few minutes to decide the best comment to attach to.

    It appears to me that one point of this discussion is not having the correct terms to separate our concepts with. Memory and its related processing is data/knowledge/information. No action is implied.

    Standard IQ, measured on the classical tests, tests for conceptual throughput capability in areas such as math, language, spatial, and so on. However, thundering mountains of things are not gauged on the classical tests.

    Daniel Goleman publicized his term for the missing elements. "Emotional Intelligence". Now that more accurate terms are present in the discussion, I would describe the poster's father had a very high conceptual ability indeed. However, his "Emotional Intelligence" was indeed very poor, and evenually caused a tragic loss of his former abilities. Please, recall his former glories, and treat him as a mixed character whose faults finally outweighed his gifts.

  • by libkarl2 (1010619) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @10:05PM (#16448395)
    I've met people who were capable of incredible mental feats who seemed to come up short in areas that IQ testing does not generally cover, such as:

    Emotional range.

    Specific insight (the lack of which leads to that haughtyness you mentioned).

    Empathy.

    Self awareness.

    Social skills.

    I figure if I just drop some of the above, and reserve most of my mental capacity for the taking of IQ tests, then I would be a genius also.

  • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @10:55PM (#16448663)
    I've read that the people who are most successful - at least in the commercial sense of getting rich or being the head of a large company - tend to be well above average in intelligence but not the most intelligent. The reasoning behind this observation is that those in the second tier feel they have something to prove, and are driven to succeed. Those in the first tier do what they like, which tends to be academic or scientific pursuits. In this they are satisfied, and they are not driven toward financial supremacy.
  • by trawg (308495) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @11:07PM (#16448737) Homepage
    Interesting post - I don't think fat people are dumb. I just think they're lazy.

    My friends and I have an ongoing argument about 'metabolism'. I've always been had a relatively skinny/athletic build, and my friends keep saying it's only because I have a 'high metabolism', and that I'm lucky I'm not like them because otherwise I'd be fat.

    I take exception to this because from my perspective, I'm really careful not to get fat. I eat a balanced diet - sure, I have a Big Mac now and then, but much more often I'm eating Subway. I drink a bit, but not every night and rarely to excess. I excercise several times a week - lots of soccer and when I'm not to tired from work (a relatively demanding IT job, which I think also helps) pushups and stuff.

    Most of the fat people I know aren't dumb - they just don't care that they're fat. Sure, they're prepared to whine and complain and blame heaps of different things, but at the end of the day - they're just not actually prepared to do anything about it. Fad diets, half-assed excercise regimes - none of that crap is EVER going to work unless you WANT to lose weight, and until you get to that point, nothing will happen.
  • by try_anything (880404) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @11:32PM (#16448899)
    That's a good suggestion; it probably has the same strengths as body fat percentage and would be measured using the same techniques.

    Unfortunately, measurements of body fat percentage are inaccurate unless expensive. Scales that use electrical impedance are reliable at detecting relative change in a single individual, if they are used consistently under the same circumstances (time of day, level of skin moisture, etc.) They don't give you a useful reading from one trip to the doctor's office. Skin fold tests using calipers can be pretty accurate when done by a trained person, but they measure subcutaneous fat levels and have to be adjusted using an age-dependent estimate of your intra-abdominal fat. Immersion tests are too expensive for routine use; they're a luxury for pro athletes and yuppie fitness enthusiasts.

    BMI is a public health tool. It's great for large, cheap studies relating lifestyle factors to health, and it's pretty good for educating the average person. It's the only absolute number that you can use to bring a clue to the large numbers of overweight people who are under the impression that their weight is normal and healthy. Being overweight, like being anorexic, usually involves warped self-perception and an incorrect idea of what "normal" is. You have to provide an absolute number because it's the only way to bypass their warped preconceptions. As bad as it is, BMI is the best thing available for this purpose.

    Fitness enthusiasts don't have much to learn from BMI, but luckily, most people who are muscular enough to throw off the standard normal-overweight-obese BMI classification are going to ignore BMI because they already think about their fitness on a daily basis. They aren't going to shit their pants over an article in Newsweek that says they need to lose weight. Anyway, public health information isn't about taking care of corner cases. It's about trying to use a few million dollars to reduce the national diabetes rate by 2%. (Those numbers = WAG.)
  • by griffjon (14945) <`GriffJon' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday October 16, 2006 @12:16AM (#16449147) Homepage Journal
    Well, you *are* reading slashdot comments. Might I suggest more fruitful areas in which to seek insightful commentary on statistical analysis?

    Like....uh... hm.

    Well, crap.

    This explains the state of the world today, huh?

    (or maybe it's just strongly correlated)
  • by donscarletti (569232) on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:17AM (#16449467)
    Ah ha! You have a BMI of 21 but are a complete and utter moron! His point is that he DOES weigh a heck of a lot for his height, he's a short guy but weighs as much as a big guy should weigh. But he also is not fat, 84 cm is a tiny circumference for an 86kg dude and unless he's got a gut the size of a bathtub above his pants he must just be dense for some reason. Even without fat, people just have different shapes and densities, some people float in water whereas some people sink. This dude however would sink in the dead sea. The point is, someone is fat when they have a lot of fat in their body, not when a ratio is over a threshold.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:52AM (#16449639)
    The criticism of BMI is a separate issue altogether, and irrelevent in the results of this study.

    The fact is, this study linked high BMI with lower IQ. Not obesity.

    This could be due to many factors such as caloric intake, sheer stress on the cardiovascular system affecting blood flow to the brain or any other combination of factors that affect anyone with a high BMI ("FIT" OR "FAT")

    As a side note, bodybuilders aren't necessarily any healthier than the obese.

    Acar2.0

  • by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Monday October 16, 2006 @09:38AM (#16451855) Homepage
    To be honest, although most MBAs might be successful at gaining money, they are often not particularly successful in terms of being contented. There's not much point in being rich if the result is stress and unhappiness.

    The notion that rich people are unhappy is a myth. In reality, rich people are generally happier than middle- and low-income earners. The idea that money makes people miserable is a fairy tale perpetuated by poor people to try and console themselves regarding their own unhappiness.

    Money can't buy happiness, but poverty guarantees misery.
  • by LKM (227954) on Monday October 16, 2006 @09:54AM (#16452025) Homepage

    Yeah. I suspect that really smart people don't perceive themselves as smart. The more you know, the more you realize how little you know. If you don't know anything, you're not capable of estimating your own knowledge - you don't know enough to know whether you know anything. Stupid people probably think they're pretty smart, while smart people probably constantly doubt their own intellect.

    In order to be attracted by Mensa, you need a certain amount of stupidity which prevents you from understanding that being able to solve a bunch of IQ tests doesn't make you smart. It just makes you good at solving those tests.

    As far as I can tell - and I don't think I actually know any Mensa member - Mensa members seem to be proud of their intelligence, which kind of proves that they aren't that intelligent.

  • Re:Size 33 jeans? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geobeck (924637) on Monday October 16, 2006 @10:24AM (#16452311) Homepage

    His trousers were perpetually under his protuberant belly.

    Been there, done that... but I wore size 36 at that time. Trust me, it's possible for a slashdotter-computer geek to get in shape. Just find a form of exercise you enjoy doing.

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