Press "Enter" to skip to content

Obesity correlated to IQ? As if!

photo by flickr user colros

In Meredith Melnick’s article “Toddlers’ Junk-Food Diet May Lead to Lower IQ” she speaks about how obese people have lower IQ’s than skinny people and how this is developed not just out of the blue, but develops over time. I disagree with this article, because I believe that obese people can in fact have a high IQ.

First off, what is the definition of obesity? Well, according to the Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator, if you’re in the 30th percentile or over, you are considered obese. Many people who are smart fit this profile of being ‘obese’.

Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1992 Rigoberta Menchu Tum is considered obese but has a high IQ and has accomplished many things, such as helping less fortunate people. And how about Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1998, John Hume? According to the BMI calculator, he is considered obese, but he has used his knowledge to make him the ‘thinker’ behind recent political choices in Northern Ireland. So why is it that people believe obese people do not have high IQs? Is it because of the scientific ‘facts’? Or is it because they would like to have an excuse to make fun of obese people?

Imagine a small child who is already insecure about her weight; she’s flipping through the Los Angeles Times when suddenly she comes upon this article. This child then reads through to realize that this article is talking about how fat people have lower IQs. Now, think about how that child may feel about herself now after reading this article. Wouldn’t you feel hurt? Wouldn’t your self-esteem go down? I know if I were this child, I would feel this way.

Have people ever stopped to wonder what is the reason why these people are obese? Maybe these people are too busy spending time studying for their test that’s the next day and don’t have enough time to take a jog or eat a healthy meal. They could be sitting down, reading a book instead of taking a bike ride. Or they could be too busy working long hours exercising their minds at work. I feel that if people would come to realize that obese people may not be exercising their bodies because they are exercising their minds then they would realize that not all obese people have low IQs. All of these examples show that there is always a story behind everything. Just because one person who is obese may not have the highest IQ, doesn’t mean that all obese people have low IQs, too.


  1. Anon ymous March 21, 2011

    I mean, you’re right that IQ and obesity are almost certainly not correlated, but your argument is just as flawed as the Melnick’s. Your entire piece is based on speculation and 2 cases – and that is certainly unscientific.

    Instead, as a news reporter, you should have focused on the facts. Her entire argument is baseless because of the definition of IQ. IQ is supposedly based on a person’s potential for learning and knowledge, and does not change over the life span of a person. A 5 year old will have the same IQ when they are 15 and when they are 50, no matter what they weigh at each time.

    However, because you do not source particular arguments, I have no idea how Melnick presents her claim. Children with access to poor food tend to be obese but also malnourished (which is something quite different from undernourished). Malnourished people can be less physically and mentally sound then those who have access to all the minerals and vitamins they need when they are children.

    While I understand this may be a touchy subject for some people, you should never counter bad science and speculation with bad science, speculation, and vague journalism.

  2. Lewis March 21, 2011

    Thanks for you comment, Anonymous. Just FYI, the “Voices” section of the website is a collection of creative and opinion pieces contributed by members of the Marlborough community and is not meant to be fact-based journalism… the “I” in the second sentence should have clued you into that. Jamie’s argument here is just that — an argument, based on whatever evidence she can provide. You might also note the “15” next to the writer’s name, indicating she is in the class of 2015, or 8th Grade. Next time please consider where a writer at a student publication might be in terms of the learning process before commenting on her writing as though she is an adult.

Comments are closed.