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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Stupid Studies

Fat people are having a tough time of it at the moment, what with obesity inexorably climbing to the top of the health crime charts.
Fat is definitely not the new black, despite the protests of those who are carrying a few spare truck tyres - which isn’t to say that the big people don’t have some support in their corner.
Earnest social commentators brandish copies of Vogue as indisputable evidence that individual rotundity is society’s fault because heartless society permits ruthless fast food outlets to, you know, do such despicable things as offer a product for sale.
Heartless society compounds these insane policies by allowing equally ruthless organisations to offer diet and exercise programmes to fat people who no longer want to borrow the jaws-of-life from the local fire brigade every time they want a skin-fold test.
The very fact that diet and exercise programmes are on offer is proof positive that heartless society is deliberately victimising those members of the population who embrace obesity.
Call me crazy, but if people want to be fat, are happy with their body image and couldn’t give a fig – or indeed a whole tree of figs – for being skinny then good luck to ‘em.
I have always tended toward the notion that other members of the fat fraternity who aren’t comfortable with themselves should probably spend less time listening to others make excuses for them while they shove fast food into their gaping maws, and more time taking long hard looks into the mirror.

It now appears though, that the reason many fat women don’t look in the mirror is because they find it depressing.
This stunning revelation comes courtesy of a decision in the early 1980s by the University of Tasmania to invest money and 25 YEARS researching the subject.
According to a report in my local newspaper, the 25-year study of 1135 girls reached the earth-shaking conclusion that fat girls who go on to become fat women are more prone to depression than their skinny counterparts.
Lead researcher Dr Kristy Sanderson said that mental health problems could now be added to the “long list of problems arising from childhood obesity … pretty much for the first time”.
The first time eh? It would make you weep if you weren’t so wide-eyed with the wonder of it all.

You can’t help but think that Dr Sanderson and her team could have spent their time and money a bit more profitably by getting out a bit more over the last 25 years and keeping up with current events.
We know they haven’t been doing that because it appears they have got their cause and effect assumptions back to front, with plenty of evidence around to indicate that weight gain is a result of depression, not the other way around.
Thus we are left with the age-old conundrum: what came first, the fried chicken or the crème egg?
We also know that Dr Sanderson doesn’t keep up with the latest fat literature because she is quoted in the newspaper report as saying that the study didn’t find “the same effects in men and boys”.
If she had been keeping up she would be aware that fat guys don’t get depressed because they are too busy being, well, studs basically.

That was the finding of a recent Turkish University study which paid a gaggle of researchers to spend a year studying 100 men to find out whether fat guys or skinny guys were better in bed in terms of time spent on the job.
The result? Fatties registered, on average, 7.3 minutes on the Shag-o-Meter while their skinny counterparts could treat their partners to a paltry 1.8 minutes of coital ecstasy.
This study raises a number of interesting questions, such as how many times the fat guys had to stop for a rest during their mattress marathons, or how many times per night the two test groups were able to perform.
If the fat guy had to stop for a 30-second oxygen break every 1.2794 minutes, were these 30-second breaks included in his total time?
If the skinny guys were able to perform four times a night (ok girls, we are getting into the realms of fantasy here, but it is a possibility, no matter how remote) that would put them on a total performance time of 7.2 minutes. Was the repeat performance factor measured?
We’ll never know, but leaving aside the question of why 100 men and, one supposes, at least 100 women would agree to have sex in front of a team of people dressed in lab coats and holding stop watches, (unless of course it was self-timed, meaning the women involved had a genuine reason for looking at their watches every 30 seconds or so) what lasting benefit does this study have for mankind in general?
Apart from giving fat guys everywhere a reason to keep eating, I’d venture to say: not much.
I’m prepared to lay money that if you went up to a girl in a nightclub and told her that the tub of lard handing out copies of a Turkish university study could last 7.3 minutes in the sack, whereas the Adonis on her arm would be looking for the exit after 1.8 minutes, she’d still choose the hare instead of the tortoise.
Which probably ultimately explains why fat guys last longer; they have that much trouble getting to the start line in the first place – and know that it could be months before they get another chance – they want to string it out for as long as possible.

Finally, just to round out Stupid Study Week another one has given us a clue as to why the fat guys end up doing their shopping at Tent Land later in life.
This study, a joint effort between the RMIT and the Australian Education Union, found that 33% of teenage boys and nearly 16% of teenage girls could officially be classified as completely domestically challenged.
I don’t have children myself, thank God, but my siblings have bred enough of the little parasites for me to see at first hand that the average teenage boy would rather eat a cup of cold sick with a teaspoon than wash a dish.
(Strong anecdotal evidence suggests that most teenage boys would actually prefer the cup of cold sick option, if only to give them something to post on YouTube.)
One wonders what the nation’s teachers think about the AEU blowing their dues on this sort of drivel. Thousands of teenagers leave our schools barely able to spell their own names, but the AEU deems it vital that money be spent on employing a researcher to give statistical resonance to empirical evidence possessed by every parent and employer in the country.

So what have we learned from these three research projects?
Fat women who want to be cheered up should spend the night with a fat guy, but not expect him to make the bed afterwards.
That’s it. Well … that was worth it … it could have been worse, they could have blamed it on climate change, oh, hang on …  

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