Study: Racism Causes Obesity in Black Women

Women who reported more lifetime racism were also at increased risk of obesity


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.

Tags: Racism, obesity