Is this the world’s most flawed study?

I’ve had a quick glance at this study, and I’m frankly horrified at the idea.

People are getting fatter in all parts of the world, with the possible exception of south and east Asia, a one-day global snapshot shows.

Between half and two-thirds of men and women in 63 countries across five continents – not including the US – were overweight or obese in 2006.

The Circulation journal study included over 168,000 people evaluated by a primary care doctor.

So, according to the abstract, you ask people who visit a doctor on a given day if they’d participate in the study, and then quiz them on their health.

However, if you assume that overweight people are less healthy, they you also assume they’ll be seeing doctors more regularly than non-overweight people. Thereby invalidating the results, or at least skewing them massively in favour of the fatties.

On the other hand, if you assume that being overweight people don’t visit their doctors more regularly, then you have a valid study, but one that’s pointless: if they’re not seeing doctors more often, why not? Are the risks of being overweight not that great after all?

Of course, you could also ignore these inconvenient little questions, and instead push the story on the basis of WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE and get it to be front page news on the BBC…

2 thoughts on “Is this the world’s most flawed study?

  1. Or there’s there may be a correlation between being able to afford a doctor and being able to afford plenty of food….

    …just sayin’.

  2. But then the correlation between relative wealth and weight has been well and truly broken in the western world… Affording plenty of food is no longer the problem, it’s affording healthy food and the time to prepare it that becomes the sign of wealth.

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