Friday, July 27, 2007

Dear Readers, (if you are still out there) I would like to take a moment and ask you to appreciate that I did apply my ninja skills to anyone after the appearance of the recent "Obesity is Contagious" bullshit.

Seriously, what? Is that like how Teh Gay is contagious? My incredulity knows no bounds.

I couldn't even post on it for at least two days because I was rendered speechless. Surely no one is this stupid? Surely the media would not publish a study that was:
  • Based entirely on Correlative data (Correlation !=Causation)
  • Drawing on conclusions that only affect men
  • Based on a limited sample of people that were enrolled in a heart study and their emergency contacts
  • Only valid for the Middle Class
  • Completely Stupid
But they did, and the headlines were big and bold, Obesity is Contagious. Can all the fatties hear the nice young men in their big white coats coming to take them away?

I first read about the study at Shapely Prose, and she pointed me to this excellent article that covers most of the points I would like to make. (So if you want to know more besides that I think you should tell everyone you know what utter bullshit this story is you should go read those articles.)

What I find most interesting is a point that Kate Harding made:

It’s well worth mentioning that that study demonstrated, among other things,
that there’s no clear link between longevity and BMI, that among non-smokers,
obesity was correlated with greater longevity, and that the largest single
determinant of longevity was… drumroll… genes.

And Genes don't have anything to do with our social networks either.

The thing that drives me crazy about this is that no one is going to contradict it. It fits so nicely in with society's desire to hate anyone that weighs more than 5lbs that most writers and readers wont even question it.


1 comment:

DED said...

Never underestimate what the news media will put on the air. Facts, shmacts. Sensationalism = Ratings.