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Move in a Little Closer Baby!

Today’s article in the New York Times, Catching Obesity From Friends May Not Be So Easy written by, Gina Kolata is a welcome read.

Ms Kolata’s article discusses the flaws in the research methodology and conclusions of the famous, “Obesity is Contagious Study,” by Doctors Nicholas Christakis, a social scientist at Harvard, and James Fowler, a social scientist at the University of California, San Diego.

One of the most controversial findings of the study sounded an alarm by cautioning the general public that, “…if contagion is real, it might also follow that people who are fat should stay away from fat people to control their weight.”

Of course one could take that further and propose that fat people stay away from ALL people or risk giving them the “Fat Cooties” and perhaps ultimately justify the removal of fat kids from their homes that was being discussed last month.

The arrogance and cavalier attitude expressed by Dr. Fowler when asked about the flaws in his study and the conclusions were mind boggling! His response:

“This is how science proceeds,” he said. “We came up with a fact that no one ever thought about before. We published our methods. We published our data. We said, ‘Look, we think this is important. You should help us figure out how to do this better.’ ”

How to do what better Doctor? Prove that fat people should be exiled to an island somewhere? I hear incidences of leprosy are down. Perhaps there is some real estate available? Alright, I’m a bit reactive, I apologize. But how about apologizing for the repercussions of the study? You know…the impact the findings that increased the negative stigmatization of fat people?  Not to mention how your study validated and encouraged our society’s irrational FEAR of FAT?

And while you are at it, how about a study concerning the effects of segregation of a segment of the country’s population based on fear and loathing?  Oh wait, I believe those studies are already underway in the fields of religion, ethnicity, and gender studies.