A new study looking to, I don’t know, dredge up the deeply buried insecurities of grown women and/or convince parents to homeschool their kids has found that the less popular a girl perceives herself to be the more weight she’ll gain during the teenage years. Conjuring images, no doubt, of the lonely sophomore eating a pint of ice-cream in a darkened kitchen while her cellphone never rings. Ugh!
The study: researchers recorded a pack of 15-year-olds’ BMIs and had them determine which rung on the picture of 10-rung ladder they might be standing. A few years later, they calculated the grown girl-now-woman’s BMI. Those who rated themselves along the bottom half of the ladder were 69 percent more likely to gain an excess of 11 pounds (there were allowances made for expected weight gain for the still-growing group of girls).
But here’s what I find pretty interesting:
The researchers put the girls into two groups: the 4,264 who said they
were on rung 5 or above, and the 182 who said they were on rung 4 or
below. The weight gain link was based on those two groups.
That’s a pretty small group who ranked themselves so low, isn’t it? What I’d like to know is whether the lower your rank yourself the more you gained or more likely you were to gain, that kind of thing. And does the 182 number represent the expected percentage to be clinically depressed or whatever? I mean, is popularity the key here?
Of course, there is more work to be done.
Clea McNeely of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health called
the study strong. She said she wanted to know more about the 4 percent
of girls who rated themselves below average in popularity, particularly
whether they already were gaining weight faster before they rated
themselves as unpopular.
Now, what I’d really like to know is whether anyone who ranked herself at the top of the ladder wound up super obese. Because I’m bitter like that.