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'You're fat.' 'I want a second opinion.' 'You're dumb.'

February 8, 2011 | 11:51 am

According to a Yiddish proverb, " 'For example' is not proof."

But I'm relying on examples -- fat kids I've known -- to counter a new report that children who eat a junky fast-food diet suffer a loss of IQ points.

Time magazine  reports that researchers from the University of Bristol in England came to this conclusion: "Overall, kids who ate junky fast-food diets at age 3 had a small drop in IQ at age 8.5, compared with kids eating healthy foods. The association persisted even after researchers controlled for other environmental factors that can influence IQ, such as parental education level, maternal diet in pregnancy,socioeconomic status and stressful life events."

Although the study doesn't seem to draw this conclusion, the irresistible inference is that overweight kids -- disproportionately the consumers of junky fast food -- are dumber than their health-food-consuming (and thin) fellows.

This conflicts with the admittedly anecdotal evidence of a lifetime. In my experience, fat kids are disproportionately smart, and smart kids are disproportionately fat. Maybe it has something to do with time spent sitting reading.

I'm always on the lookout for fat-bashing -- including by Time magazine (see this post)  -- but this is a dramatic example. Bristol University has deprived fat kids of one of their few consolations: the knowledge that, even if the other kids are fatter, you're smarter.

I demand a recount.

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-- Michael McGough

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