Saturday, 26 March 2011

Roissean explanations

A study suggests churchgoers are more likely than non-religious folks to get fat in middle age: it apparently doubles the risk. Now, I've not looked at the study - only the reporting on it. But this is the kind of explanation I'd expect from Roissy:
Kenneth F. Ferraro, author of similar studies linking obesity with religion, suggested that marriage may have played a role in the weight gain.

"The time period studied is when many Americans get married," said Ferraro, director of the Center on Aging and the Life Course at Purdue University. "We know that weight gain is common after marriage and that marriage is highly valued in most religious groups. Thus, one wonders if the results could be partially due to religious people being more likely to get married earlier and then gaining weight."
Roissy would have asked questions about gender interaction terms; I won't. And as I haven't the study and can't find it on 15 seconds' looking, neither will I speculate as to causes of the effect; I know not what controls were included. I'd also worry about whether underlying variables might be associated with both churchgoing and obesity.

But none of that would stop me from strongly recommending that atheists be given an exemption from any future fat taxes.


  1. "But none of that would stop me from strongly recommending that atheists be given an exemption from any future fat taxes. "


  2. Yep. I had the same thought.

    Wonder what percentage of your readers will know what you are talking about? You assume it's a non-trivial percentage. I wonder if you are right? (I have no idea.)

  3. Those who wish to understand Roissy can search him out; I'm hesitant to link there from here. For obvious reasons.

  4. If the results are valid and different marriage rates didn't explain all of the difference, it might still be marriage doing all the work. Married people get fat because they know it's costly for their partner to leave them. If you're religious, the cost of breaking the marriage vow is higher, and there's thus more scope for slack before the relationship ends.

  5. @Brad: And hence Roissy counsels against marriage. For him, concerns about ex post chiselling dominate the benefits of returns from relationship-specific investments.

  6. It's clearly caused by a lack of regulation of communion wafers!
    Do they have fat content and calorie information on the side of the packet? Why is sacramental bread exempt from these laws?
    All churchgoers should be informed by Sue Kedgley as to what they are eating and the associated health risk.

  7. @V: If you want nutritional labelling on the communion wafers, should it be pre or post transubstantiation for the Catholic version?

  8. That's an easy one, the ability for the foodstuff to interchange between a complex carbohydrate and an assortment of protein means this food should be labelled as a GM food.(That is God-Manipulated).
    These decisions can be made by ERMA following an expensive consultative process with religious groups.