Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Weighing in on Popularity

This study, as outlined in Newsweek, claims that popular girls are less likely to gain weight than their unpopular counterparts (popularity based on subjective judgement). And they claim that gaining less weight is the favourable outcome; and weight gain is the health alarm. Key subject here is adolescent girls. Painted thick with anti-obesity claims, this study does nothing to open dialogue about eating disorders and diet fanaticism in adolescent girls. On the contrary, it's supposedly better to be skinny and popular than fat and unpopular.

Here's the big flaws: a) the writer acknowledges that the girls in the study did their own weight reporting as opposed to a doctor's weigh in. We all know that girls and women never lie about their weight and household scales are never adjusted to personal taste or misalligned; b) I quote, "Both groups, on average, fell within ranges considered normal." If this study's data was normal, then how can it make conclusions about obesity?! Girls' weight gain while they are growing is what is normal; and c) "The researchers put the girls into two groups: the 4,264 who said they were on rung 5 or above, and the 182 who said they were on rung 4 or below. The weight gain link was based on those two groups." The self-described popular group had a 2,300% data surplus advantage in favour of minimal weight gain! Additionally, what was the control group? The study did not take into account metabolism rates, the quality of food being consumed, the amount of exercise done, instances of bulemia, binge eating, water intake, etc. This is a poor, useless study indeed and I give it a big F for failure.


Anonymous said...

it seems to me just don't like the conclusions of the study and will argue nearly anything to discredit them.

lilith attack said...

No, I don't like the conclusions of the study because the study, as outlined, is full of gaping holes. As a consumer of such information in the media, I don't bob my head and say "yes" to everything I read that claims to bear a scientific label.