Friday, August 15, 2008

Researchers who aren't parents

OK, not a highly surprising thing, given that most research these days is done in universities by young people who have not yet married, but take a look at this. University of Minnesota researchers have found a link between ear infections and childhood/adult obesity. They claim that one mechanism might be damage to nerves that induces a child to desire unhealthy foods.

Had there been a few more parents, especially moms, involved in this research, they might have realized that mixed with the issue of nerve damage is the fact that smoking and bottle-feeding are also strongly linked with both unhealthy behaviors that lead to obesity, as well as ear infections. One wonders how the data would have looked had they corrected for smoking, breastfeeding vs. bottlefeeding, and other known factors involved with both ear infections and obesity.

While certainly it's not prudent to simply ignore what might be a secondary cause, it's just as certainly wise to make sure you've controlled for the two biggest issues involved before you suggest a third one. In other words, they need a few moms to remind them about little Billy who couldn't breastfeed and had 10 ear infections before age 1.

Or actually, as my wife would remind me, the kid's name is Jason.


pentamom said...

And then there's the obvious point that even if nerve damage "induces" a child to desire healthy foods, there are some of us in the world who hold the very weird belief that what the child instinctively "desires" shouldn't be the sole driving parameter of diet. Granted, if there is some kind of taste disorder that makes it harder for kids to appreciate plainer foods, that is definitely a difficulty -- and difficulties have real consequences.. But I've noticed more and more in recent years these researchers are always so ridiculously deterministic about behaviorally manageable conditions, as though there's simply no such thing as parenting, and no such thing as self-control.

Bike Bubba said...

Well said, and you're weird. But it takes one to know one.