I.Q. and weight

On average, do obese people have lower I.Q.s than people of normal weight?

lol, no. What gave you that notion?

Just because people are obese doesn’t mean they’re not as smart as anyone else. They may be careless in what they eat, could have something genetically wrong (which is the case with most obese people in my opinion) and just plain lazy.

You probably could link together some known correlations and come up with something. Poor populations would have an overrepresentation of people with low IQ’s. Poor people have a higher rate of obesity than people in higher socioeconomic classes.

I am not saying this is correct because you would have to do an actual study to find that out and I have never heard of one. However, my example shows that fat people having a lower IQ doesn’t mean that there is a direct correlation. Lower IQ would just cause two separate, most unrelated outcomes. That is why we always say that correlation does not equal causation because you don’t know the reason why.

Well, I’m pretty obese and my IQ puts me in the top 2% or so of the population according to most standards, so, unless I’d be a super genius if I were of normal weight, I’d have to say, uhm, no :slight_smile:

I’m skinny and an idiot, so maybe the converse is true.

Why do you ask? Are you thinking you might need to diet? :rolleyes:

In Psychology we learned taller people had a higher average IQ, but that this was due to the likelyhood of proper nutrition rather than a height issue. Just so happens that well nurished people grow up more to their full potential than those less nurished.

I suppose you could argue that most heavier people are that way because they eat more food, which would give you people getting their nutrition plus some. I would guess that a large percentage of the heavier people tend to eat low quality food though, and probably get no more nutrition than their skinnier counterparts.

Also, there are those that are skinny and eat like horses. Sometimes they eat just as unhealthily, so I suppose it all balances out in the averages.

You probably could link together some known correlations and come up with something. Poor populations would have an overrepresentation of people with low IQ’s. Poor people have a higher rate of obesity than people in higher socioeconomic classes.


Shagnasty, I’m not sure if you’re just using these as examples or if you believe they are facts, but they are borderline offensive assumptions that are hard to support.
If you define IQ in a way that depends on formal schooling, then sure, graduates of Harvard and Yale might do better on such tests than high school dropouts who live in the slums. But there are many types of intelligence, and a lot of people who inherited millions from their parents could never manage to survive on their wits the way many, many poor people do.
And the poor having a higher rate of obesity is not universal across cultures or throughout history. In fact, the reverse was true in even Western countries until quite recently. In much of Africa fat = wealth, because only the wealthy can afford enough food to get fat.

I’m not trying to be overbearing, I just wanted to point these things out.

But IQ is not defined that way. It is defined, quite simply, as a measure of how well people do on IQ tests. And there is a significant, though not large, correlation between economic status and performance on IQ tests. There is also a significantly higher percentage of obesity poor people than in rich people.


EQ might be more correspondent to obesity. While only anecdotal and hardly a scientific sample, numerous obese geniuses come to mind: Orson Welles, William Howard Taft, Winston Churchill, John Goodman [the man’s extremely intelligent], Tycho Brahe, Shirkuh, Baron Harkonnen… wait, either he or John Goodman wasn’t real). I’ve never noticed any link between IQ and any type of self-destructive voluntary behavior, be it driving recklessly or smoking (I’d say of the real geniuses I’ve known more smoked than didn’t even though they knew perfectly well the risks they were taking) or drinking (ditto to smoking) or overeating or underexercising or thrill seeking.

Of course I don’t remember ever having seen an obese person on GQ, if that means anything.

I adore you.

At the risk of being labeled a “Google Hound”, there is some evidence out there that obesity and intelligence are inversely related. Evidence, not proof, and not for all situations.

From: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0887/is_11_22/ai_111023396/pg_2

From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=7647829&dopt=Abstract

From: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/03/02/1046540068050.html


(brief reference to obesity, but the key thing is, many other health effects seem related to intelligence due to behaviours - such as ability of diabetics to care for themselves - see article for details)

I’ve also been chasing a claim that the Journal of the American Dietetic Association published a study on this, but can’t find the full article. Again, this is all via Googling and digging, I have no special insight into this.


You probably could link together some known correlations and come up with something. Poor populations would have an overrepresentation of people with low IQ’s. Poor people have a higher rate of obesity than people in higher socioeconomic classes.

friedo interpreted my points correctly. IQ literally means how well people score on a standardized IQ test. More affluent areas have a strong tendency to do better on virtually all traditional intellectual measuring tools than their poorer counterparts. A wealthy suburb bordering a poor one will almost always lave higher average test scores. Likewise, the link between obesity and socioeconomic status is very well established in the U.S.

I was just drawing a line between the two to show that if it were true, being fact still wouldn’t need to be directly linked to IQ score. However, I freely admit that you can’t just draw lines willy-nilly between known correlations although people love to do it.

Thos studies are pure bullshit.

On this board, we strive to articulate what we are referring to and then break things down point by point adding supporting or contrary evidence. What studies are you referring to and what specifically makes you believe that they are “bullshit”?

Una Persson posted studies stating that obee people are of lower intelligence. I didn’t want to attack Una because that person is just the messenger, so I didn’t quote her/him, I just said “those studies”. To say that someone is of lower intelligence based on their appearence is absurd. I’ve been morbidly obese all my life and consider myself a highly intelligent person. My cousins are obese, my grandmother, my dad and they are some of the smartest people you could ever meet.

OK, I believe you. Please add me to your list. (Obese as an adult, I was an average child.) I’m fat and I have a high IQ (top 2%).

The problem is, that tells us nothing about whether or not those studies are “bullshit”. It only tells us that there exist in the world at the very least 6 people who are obese and of a high IQ (if indeed your assumptions about your family are correct. I know my scores, but I don’t know yours.)

This is an example of an irritating, but correct statement oft-repeated on the Dope: “The plural of anecdote is not data.” A study may be flawed for many reasons: poor design, poor execution, biased funding, unrepeatable results, and so forth. Finding several, or even hundreds of counter-examples isn’t one of those reasons. These studies studied thousands of people, gaining data on trends over a large population. Your family and I are insignificant in comparison.

The only way our anecdotes would be relavent would be if one of those studies asserted that every single obese person - 100% - had a lower IQ than every single thin person. Obviously, this is absurd, and no one is claiming any such thing.

Since you claim to have a high IQ, you can understand why we can be fat and high IQ and the studies still valid about general trends. Or, you will find it easy to articulate specific valid problems with the studies. Or, you will retract your statement. Pick one, please.

I don’t retract my statement, nor am I trying to argue at all.

Why would I retract my statement about a study that tests appearances and bad habits to intellect? Hey, why not say black people aren’t as smart as white people? Or skinny people tend to have better teeth than fat people? Or men are smarter than women? It’s stereotyping plain and simple. While there may be some truth to stereotypes, they aren’t fact. I understand what you are saying and I know these studies don’t mean as “a whole”.

It just makes no sense whatsoever. Refuting the test’s “results” is simple; to say people’s intellect is based on their appearance and eating habits is bullshit. To even try and test something like that is ludicrous.

I remember a psychiatrist trying to pinpoint what it is that makes men criminals. He was convinced that big ears and large foreheads are what caused it. He studied thousands of criminals and came to the conclusion that while a lot of criminals did in fact have ears that stuck out and larger foreheads, there is no evidence to suggest that his hypothesis is in any way correct.