Correlation is not Causation

Blog, Healthcare & Welfare, Les Routledge

An Oxford University study suggests that people living in countries with ‘free market’ regimes are more likely to become obese due to the stress of being exposed to economic insecurity. Science Daily

The researchers believe that the stress of living in a competitive social system without a strong welfare state could be causing people to overeat. According to the study published in the latest issue of the journal Economics and Human Biology, Americans and Britons are much more likely to be obese than Norwegians and Swedes.

That conclusion is almost as valid as saying speaking English leads to obesity.  Picking out job insecurity as the cause among all the potential cultural, income and other factors may make for an interesting press release, but it is not good science.

Over at Grist, they have identified another cause of obesity.  The problem according to the research they reference is increased adoption of central home heating systems.  I guess people a just not shivering enough to burn off those calories.

Personally, I think the problem is switching away from using wood as the source of heating energy.  If everyone had to chop their own wood and carry it into the house, the obesity epidemic would be dramatically reduced.