[TW: fat hatred masquerading rather openly as science.]
Here we go again. Another study that is going to teach us all about how two things are somehow in the same realm of possibilities and so therefore must be forced into a fake casual relationship. All in the name of shaming.
This round: Poor diets may lower children’s IQ (notice that “may” in there – that’s important).
Here’s what the Guardian says about this:
A predominantly processed-food diet at the age of three is directly associated with a lower IQ at the age of eight and a half, according to a Bristol-based study of thousands of British children. The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children is tracking the long-term health and wellbeing of around 14,000 children. Food packed with vitamins and nutrients notably helped boost mental performance as youngsters got older, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reports. […]
“This suggests that any cognitive/behavioural effects relating to eating habits in early childhood may well persist into later childhood, despite any subsequent changes to dietary intake,” the authors wrote.
During the study, parents completed questionnaires detailing the types and frequency of the food and drink their children consumed when they were three, four, seven and eight-and-a-half years old. Every one-point increase in the study’s dietary pattern score – a record of processed fat intake – was associated with a 1.67-point fall in IQ. […]
The School Food Trust’s director of research, Michael Nelson, said: “Given that around 23% of children start school either overweight or obese, it’s absolutely clear that healthy choices as part of their early development will stand children in good stead – not only for keeping a healthy weight as they grow up, but as this evidence suggests, improving their ability to do well at school.
“These findings also demonstrate the importance of helping everyone involved with children’s early development to get the information and advice they need on good nutrition.”
Wow. Those parents feeding their kids that shit should stop feeding their kids that shit! Problem fucking solved. You’re welcome.
I’m sure that this has nothing to do with class, access to education (both in school and out of it), access to doctors, the money to purchase whole foods, the time to cook meals at home, having health care, the fact that IQ tests are flawed, or the fact that studies that rely on parents to fill out forms and tell the truth are flawed (this is just the list I came up with in about two minutes of brainstorming – feel free to add more in comments). Because if it did, those scientists would have mentioned it, right? I mean, they are scientists! And I’m sure that if the scientists did mention any of those things, that the Guardian would have, too. Because that is called good journalism. And if this article is anything, it is good science coupled with good journalism.
It’s always interesting to me when science just so happens to support some prevalent idea floating around in our society, in this case that fat people who eat shit food are dumber than skinnier people who eat not-shit food (you see how the study seems to not be about weight, just diet. But then that there director of research, he turns it into an issue about obesity so easily – I’m sure they were thinking about that connection while producing this garbage). This study just happens to exactly backup how society feels about fat people, poor people, and stupid people, and all the overlap between the three. Here it is, all rolled into a single study. One based on lots of flaws, the word “may”, and things that are probably just corollaries of each other and not causally related.
We can now shake our fingers and our heads even harder at those people, those fat, processed-food eating, stupid people. Feels good, right?
Most people will simply read the title of the article, nod their heads, judge the people who feed their kids crap food, assume those people and their kids are obese (just like the scientist heading the study does) and then feel really good inside knowing that they don’t do that. Or they will read it, know they feed their kids the processed stuff, and will be rightfully shamed for their behavior.
Yay! I love when studies that are supposedly science are published in newspapers so that a lay person can gobble up that info without really having to think about it. That’s good for society. My smart, whole-foods-nourished brain tells me that.
What really makes me sad is when I read a post like this one at the Grist, which is a site I generally like. It just takes the study at face value and basically re-posts it for a whole new audience (one probably made up of snobby foodies as it is). And Grist got this from Jezebel, which did the same thing.