Study: Racism Causes Obesity in Black Women

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Once upon a time, Americans believed that G-d was the First Cause of the universe. Then along came the left and Racism became the new First Cause of the universe.

In the Unified Field Theory of Racism, everything was caused by racism.

If America went to war, it was because it was racist. If it didn’t go to war, it was because it was racist. Even Global Warming was ultimately caused by the racist disregard of Americans for the Third World.

And obesity? Obviously racism.

Frequent experiences of racism are associated with a higher risk of obesity among African American women, a new study claims.

Scientists found that women who were more frequently victimized for their race, were more likely to be obese.

The Black Women’s Health Study collected information on experiences of racism, height and weight and other lifestyle factors via biennial questionnaires.

The participants were asked in 1997 and in 2009 to rate the frequency of ‘everyday’ experiences of racism, such as receiving poorer service in restaurants and if they had been treated unfairly because of their race in their job, in housing or by the police.

Women who reported more lifetime racism were also at increased risk of obesity, according to the study, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

There was a time when researchers knew the difference between correlation and causation. That long ago went out the window. Correlation is treated as causation. If two things overlap, then one must cause the other. And since obesity can’t cause racism, racism must cause obesity.

The study only measures perceptions of racism, not actual racism, but again that’s a distinction that long ago went out the window in research studies.

And that assumes these numbers are even valid. There’s no reason to believe that they are.

Statistically speaking, science suffers from an excess of significance. Overeager researchers often tinker too much with the statistical variables of their analysis to coax any meaningful insight from their data sets. “People are messing around with the data to find anything that seems significant, to show they have found something that is new and unusual,” Dr. Ioannidis said.

In the U. S., research is a $55-billion-a-year enterprise that stakes its credibility on the reliability of evidence and the work of Dr. Ioannidis strikes a raw nerve. In fact, his 2005 essay “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” remains the most downloaded technical paper that the journal PLoS Medicine has ever published.

Among them is a paper in which C. Glenn Begley, who is chief scientific officer at TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals, described an experience he had while at Amgen, another drug company. He and his colleagues could not replicate 47 of 53 landmark papers about cancer. Some of the results could not be reproduced even with the help of the original scientists working in their own labs.

Priming studies suggest that decisions can be influenced by apparently irrelevant actions or events that took place just before the cusp of choice. They have been a boom area in psychology over the past decade, and some of their insights have already made it out of the lab and into the toolkits of policy wonks keen on “nudging” the populace.

Dr Kahneman and a growing number of his colleagues fear that a lot of this priming research is poorly founded. Over the past few years various researchers have made systematic attempts to replicate some of the more widely cited priming experiments. Many of these replications have failed.

In April, for instance, a paper in PLoS ONE, a journal, reported that nine separate experiments had not managed to reproduce the results of a famous study from 1998 purporting to show that thinking about a professor before taking an intelligence test leads to a higher score than imagining a football hooligan.

  • Inane Rambler

    Ah, you used the photo I replied to you with.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Couldn’t think of a better illustration

  • A Z

    People who are obese are not going to be treated as favorably in general as people who are not. It is the way it is.

    Might it be that they are in denial about their weight they are more “likely” to see poor treatment as the result of race and not obesity?

    Or Maybe they choose to see poor treatment because of obesity as racial because it is much easier to tell some one that you were is treated because of race than obesity.

    If you claimed it was because of obesity, some people might say lose weight and they do not want to hear it.

  • Aurelius

    Somehow I think the race merchants have squeezed the last dollar out of the word “racist.” Maybe not.

    • kevinstroup

      Logically, yes, they have squeezed the last bit out of the word racist. But we do not live in a logical world, now do we?

  • sugartwin

    I never dreamed this magazine could become more ridiculous than it was when I first read it ten years ago. You don’t care one whit about Black women, so why bother with this kind of thing?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Because it’s shifting blame for someone else’s behavior onto us.

      • NoToSocialism

        it doesn’t. Nowhere does the article you quote talk about causation. It mentions “association” which is correlation.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      Then go away and leave the grown-ups alone.
      I can’t speak for the author, but I don’t care about you; not in the slightest.

    • JeffWRidge

      You don’t even try to refute one single claim in the article? Is that because you can’t? Instead you accuse the author, and this site, of not caring about black women.

      You are pathetic, and sadly very representative of far too many lefties. When you are unable to disprove someone’s claims, you simply use an ad hominem attack. Grow up.

    • CaoMoo

      Aw so angry. Now I happen to like black women. I’ve some very nice friends that are black women and one Id like to marry when she wants to settle down. However I don’t care one whit for perpetually angry black women or anyone that is angry at the world and blames everyone else for all their problems. That is the ugliest thing in the world and a sign of incredible weakness. Work hard and take responsibility for yourself be an adult. If you’re obese do something about it and get off your big old butt. It’s called diet and exercise and possibly medication if the thyroid is involved not racism.

    • tagalog

      Well, I for one care when nonsensical claims are made in order to make white people look bad. I’ve seen several of these over the years: 1. how a scientist created white people in a lab, then they took over and oppressed the black people, 2. how the CIA invented crack cocaine, then marketed it to black people in order to addict them and keep them down. How AIDS was invented in some bio lab to destroy blacks; how the U.S. government blew up the levees in New Orleans right before Hurricane Katrina in order to kill more black people. The stories go on and on. “Paranoia strikes deep” I guess.

      But my latest favorite is the use of ordinary words and idiomatic expressions as manifestations of white racism, as in the flap a few years ago over the use of the term “niggardly,” and more howlingly, the use of the term “black hole” as an expression of institutionalized white racism against black people. Then there was the black Congressmen who opined in a formal hearing with some admiral that the placement of more troops on some Pacific island might cause the island to capsize from the extra weight.

      So the black Hitler comes as no surprise in the manufacture of black fairy tales about white racism. I guess ordinary instances of white racism aren’t enough. Maybe there are too few of those.

  • Naresh Krishnamoorti

    I have a friend who is a successful consultant for researchers who helps them apply for grant money from the government. She is a Democrat, but non-political. She freely admits that the most important criterion for successfully obtaining grant money is that your study is intended to prove a point that is in keeping with the political priorities of the funding agency, which are almost always extremely progressive.
    In other words, everyone understands that the government does not fund research for the disinterested goal of advancing science. The government funds research in order to support certain outcomes. The funding is not given all at once, but in stages; and the funding can be quite significant: depending on the nature of the study, it may be enough to keep several people fully employed and compensated for several years.
    So if anyone wants to continue receiving funding and making a living, he has a huge vested interest in arriving at results in keeping with progressive politics. Since progressive points are always wrong, it means that any research study intended to prove a progressive point must necessarily be falsified.
    Thus, any research study involving any government money is necessarily false.

    • CaoMoo

      That’s what happened with climate gate

    • Steven Picking

      Agreed. But note that by far the most research funding goes to biomedical research and research in the hard sciences (physics, engineering). Social science research and arts, etc. get little funding. Maybe you want to claim that also research in the hard sciences is politically motivated. Not sure how you would claim that (with the exception of climate change research).

  • CaoMoo

    New study being fat leads to a 100% chance increase of obesity.

  • tagalog

    Ah, the disparate impact theory strikes again!

  • kilfincelt

    Statistics are much like computers in that if your put garbage in, you get garbage out.

  • Napier

    the study says “is associated with”, which means correlation. It doesn’t mention causation.

    • Sez Eye

      Bogus and misleading comment, “is associated with” means causation in this article, and it is the writer’s obvious intent to do so.

      • RustyNails

        Sez Eye lies.

        • Sez Eye

          How old are you, 10?

        • Sez Eye

          Hi Rusty, I see you are following me around the internet using disqus as a guide. Are you going to troll this thread also?

  • ekaneti

    So why arent black men as obese and why are all people and black people specifically more obese than in say 1950? Id love to see the R^2 in this study. It is probably like .01

  • CoastalMaineBird

    Does it work the other way?

    Does being obese cause other people to become racists?

  • gah

    Maybe it’s fat, lazy, dirty, stupid black people who cause racism.

  • John Prospero

    Here’s an idea….seeing how everytime I’m
    behind an ebt special in line at Walmart….they have more junk, soda, and nutritionally
    useless food in their carriages than anything else….that is subsequently
    consumed while sitting on the couch since there is no requirement to go out and
    work……….anyone think that might be a contributor to obesity among black
    women….or can we all agree its just whitey making everyone fat