Study Finds Link Between Low IQ, Large Waistline

Denise Mann, U.S. News, November 15, 2011

Guys with low IQs may be at higher risk than brainiacs for later weight gain and added heart disease risk, a new study suggests.

Swedish men who had the lowest IQs at about age 18 had higher waist-to-hip ratios at age 40 than their peers who scored higher on those IQ tests. It’s known that people with “apple-shaped” bodies, or more weight around the middle, are at higher risk for heart disease than those with “pear-shaped” bodies.

Exactly how or even if IQ during late adolescence affects waist size is not clearly understood, and U.S cardiologists caution that it is too early to draw any meaningful conclusions from the new data. {snip}

Study author Dr. Jerzy Leppert, a professor at the Center for Clinical Research of Uppsala University in Sweden, said the message is clear. “Present strategies that aim to stop the obesity epidemic should change focus . . . and concentrate more on the group most likely to benefit, i.e. those with low IQ,” Leppert said.

Of 34,400 people who took part in a health survey that measured waist-to-hip ratio on or around their 40th or 50th birthday, about 5,400 men had also taken an IQ test when they were about 18. IQ tests are mandated in Sweden. Men who had the lowest IQs as older teens had the highest waist-to-hip ratios at age 40, the study showed. By contrast, those who scored highest on the IQ tests had the lowest waist-to-hip ratios at age 40.

{snip}

Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said that it is hard to say what came first–lower IQ or wider waistlines. Some research has linked low IQs or lower education levels to lower socioeconomic status. {snip}

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  • Anonymous

    “Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said that it is hard to say what came first—lower IQ or wider waistlines. Some research has linked low IQs or lower education levels to lower socioeconomic status. “{snip}

    The answer is from the above article, as below;

    “Swedish men who had the lowest IQs at about age 18 had higher waist-to-hip ratios at age 40 than their peers who scored higher on those IQ tests. It’s known that people with “apple-shaped” bodies, or more weight around the middle, are at higher risk for heart disease than those with “pear-shaped” bodies.”

    This is priceless! But I wonder about the socio-economic disparities among “Swedish” people since the Marxist state has long had the “cradle to grave” social economic system? It might really have something to do with who drinks the most alcohol. As for fruit shapes, I think I’m a banana. It’s the scoliosis, you see.

  • Anonymous

    This study puts the kibosh on those who claim that poor people are always one step away from starvation, at least when it comes to devolped countries like Sweden and the US. To be blunt, dumb people are more likely to do dumb things such as overeating; so this shouldn’t surprise anyone. I’m sure IQ differences could be used to explain why more blacks and mestizos are fat.

  • rjp

    Look at the grossly obese black women in an major American city that are employed in middle class enabling “make-work” jobs and tell me it because of lower socioeconomic status.

    Then ask one of those grossly obese black women to multiply 11 X 12 in their head.

  • Caleb

    I wonder how authentic these “studies” can be when used in terms of their generalizability? I’ve personally known many obese people who had some of the highest IQ’s in the world.

  • Madison Grant

    To rjp (#3):

    Ask them to multiply 12 X 11 in their heads? I’d be surprised if they could do 1 X 2!

  • Anonymous

    I am a white male who had his IQ tested when 20 years of age. I was VERY thin then. My IQ was 113. I am now 51 and I weigh 230 lbs and am 5 ft. 11 inches tall. I don’t claim to be some sort of genius but I think this Swedish study is flawed.

  • Euroblond

    The commentator who labels Sweden a Marxist state is woefully ignorant – as are most Americans when it comes to anything you can learn from a book rather than be spoon fed by movies made by high-income groups with their own (massive) axe to grind. Of course there is a link between IQ and obesity – as there is between IQ and smoking. Given what we now know about the health implications of the standard American diet, of course, only cranially-challenged individuals will persist in poisoning themselves!

  • White E

    131 and skinny as a rail. Also, I come from one of the 3 poorest states in America. Not only that, but one of the poorest areas in the state. Being born poor has nothing to do with your brain, I think that is more along the lines of genetics. A lot of the more well do to kids I knew growing up are now shiftless and lazy. I think that the opposite of this article is true, at least for whites. Being born poor is just more motivation to change your standing in life. I grew up in some unimaginable conditions and I am not sitting in a correctional facility or collecting a welfare check so what is their excuse?

  • Ross

    There are plenty of people with high I.Q.s who are obese. Obesity has nothing to with how smart or dumb you are. In fact, obesity has absolutely nothing to do with what you eat, or even how much, or how little you eat.

    To understand what I am talking about go to Ebay or Amazon and see if you can purchase a copy of the 1983 book “The Dieter’s Dilemma” by William Bennett, M.D and Joel Gurin.

    Or write into a search engine like Yahoo or Google the words “dieting does not work.”

    You will then find out that people are not fat or thin because of how much or how little they eat.

    Whether you are fat or thin is strictly determined by what genetic weight setpoint you inherit. When a fat person falls for a scam like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or T.O.P.S.(Take Off Pounds Sensibly) that person may temporarily abate about 20 pounds. But then the body will outwit the dieter by slowing down the metabolism, until all of the lost weight comes back no how matter determined the dieter tries. This is because fat people have the misfortune to inherit the wrong genes gives them a body that is determined to maintain a high fat setpoint. And is determined to keep them fat no matter what they do.

    That is why most, if not all, of the participants on the “Biggest Loser” TV show will eventually regain all of the weight they have lost, no matter how disciplined they are to stick with their diet and excercise programs!

    Unfortunately, it is these true facts about the real cause of obesity, that the dieting industry wants you to be ignorant about. So that the dieting industry can wrongfully and unethically make billions of dollars off the misery and bigotry that fat people suffer through everyday.

    In fact, Esther Manz, who founded T.O.P.S. in 1948, herself remained obese all of her life!

    On the other hand, there are lucky people, that because they inherited the right genes, eat as to what amounts to a chocolate-covered elephant each day and never a gain a single pound!

    The real truth about about obesity is, at this point in time, there is only one safe, guaranteed way to be thin: have thin parents!

    It is needed for the general public to be made aware of the real cause of obesity, and of how dieting and excercise do not work because of genetics. It is because of obesity research using live mice, that I am against the animal rights movement.

    More importantly, it is desperately needed for medical science to find a real cure for obesity.

    Just as there are telethons, marathons, and other events to raise money to find cures for cancer. A.I.D.S., and diabetes, there should also be marathons, telethons, and other such events to raise money to find a real cure for obesity. Such famous fat people as Oprah Winfrey, Rosie O’Donnell, and John Goodman would be the perfect people to host such events, to help find a real cure for obesity.

    To all you skeptics reading this comment, please as I have said before, try to aquire a copy of “The Dieter’s Dilemma” or write into a search engine like Yahoo or Google the words “dieting does not work.”

    In other words, don’t take my word for it. Research and find out the real cause of obesity for yourself!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t really see a clear link between IQ and your waistline, at least when measured on a worldwide scale. Sub Sahara Africans are probably the slimmest due to a nutrient deficient diet that is low in calories and is carbohydrate based. Before the days of agriculture, they would have been far healthier as their population would have been smaller, and they would have eaten more protein and fat. All hunter gatherer groups of all cognitive abilities would have been healthy, since it would evolutionary sense to not be a fatty.

    Now what about third world inhabitants who are living in first countries? Again it is questionable. African-Americans have the highest rate of obesity (I believe), but is it because of a lower average IQ, or is it just because of the abundance of cheap food being made available to lower economic earners? Most Americans are overweight, and Whites are not exempt from that.

  • Anonymous

    Weight is a choice in most cases sometimes genetic.

    If someone enjoys eating and can afford it, then it is their choice.

    Stupidity is half choice half genetics. The less intelligent choose to spend their resources on products that are not necessary, or needed thus they usually stay poor. Hence poor/low IQ tend to be overweight in a society that has such cheap and ready food. It also has to do with the brains reward system – Some people use food.

  • Anonymous

    7 — Euroblond wrote at 3:26 AM on November 17:

    “The commentator who labels Sweden a Marxist state is woefully ignorant – as are most Americans when it comes to anything you can learn from a book rather than be spoon fed by movies made by high-income groups with their own (massive) axe to grind. Of course there is a link between IQ and obesity – as there is between IQ and smoking. Given what we now know about the health implications of the standard American diet, of course, only cranially-challenged individuals will persist in poisoning themselves!”

    Ahem, as THAT commenter, I would ask you which movies depict Sweden in anyway at all beyond a one time Bob Hope comedy? I admit that I haven’t read any books about Sweden (aside from a history book), however, I can claim some direct knowledge of Sweden since I lived in Europe in the 90s, and worked with a liaison from Sweden’s Husqvarna company in the 1970s. One thing I know from my experience is the typical comeback of the European to any criticism by an American, such as yours.

    So here from Wiki is a short, clear statement from their page on Sweden;

    “Sweden has one of the most highly developed welfare states in the world. The country has a higher level of social spending to GDP than any other nation. Additionally it provides equal as well as comprehensive access to education and health care.”

    Combined with with their self-damaging policies on immigration/asylum and the suppression of dissent regarding the same, it adds up to one relevant term; Marxism.

  • Anonymous

    10 — Anonymous wrote at 11:58 AM on November 17:

    “I don’t really see a clear link between IQ and your waistline, at least when measured on a worldwide scale. Sub Sahara Africans are probably the slimmest due to a nutrient deficient diet that is low in calories and is carbohydrate based. Before the days of agriculture, they would have been far healthier as their population would have been smaller, and they would have eaten more protein and fat. All hunter gatherer groups of all cognitive abilities would have been healthy, since it would evolutionary sense to not be a fatty.”

    I don’t think this is so and here’s why; Evolution or natural selection favors the ones who can survive the longest. Those with fat stored will survive an extended harsh period. Mammals always seek to “fatten up” as winter approaches. It is interesting to note that perhaps one reason “indigenous” or groups that still tend to live in a less evolved societies (or very recent such as Amerinds) tend to become fat and remain fat because the natural periods of plenty and scarcity have only recently been interrupted.

    Modern problems have arisen because when more primitive people see food before them they eat it, and fail to see the need to work to get more until they are hungry again. If it is being supplied through a “new” government or supply system outside of the hunter-gatherer model, they become dependent on it and less likely to work to create their own resources.

    I also agree with those posters who note that many very high IQ individuals have been obese. The academic life traditionally implies a more studious, less athletic type. But those types are do not fit the basic idea of this article; they are normal and thin as young adults, but as middle age approaches their less active lifestyle and likely increased social activity tends to enlarge them.

  • Anonymous

    2 — Anonymous wrote at 7:16 PM on November 16:

    “This study puts the kibosh on those who claim that poor people are always one step away from starvation, at least when it comes to devolped countries like Sweden and the US. To be blunt, dumb people are more likely to do dumb things such as overeating; so this shouldn’t surprise anyone. ”

    I guess that depends upon how poor they are. It has been demonstrated fairly well that emotional stress causes people to over-eat. Combine that with the huge availability of cheap, fatty foods and you have enough there alone to account for the problem. Despite what many might say, poor people are not blissfully poor, being poor is not unlike a jail sentence, you don’t get to do many activities others take for granted and people tend to hunker down. It could even be argued that the urge to eat fatty foods is triggered by the psychology of scarcity, and it has been argued. Lack of activity and stimulation also makes people dumb. Social isolation makes people dumb, and poor people are usually less socially engaged, at least in industrialized nations like Sweden and the US because of the social stigma of poverty.

    Also, it’s dumb to make simple, quick conclusions.

  • Alexandra

    Consider that the same foods that make you fat might also lower your IQ.

    Instead of looking at the calories, look at the list of ingredients. I stopped counting calories a long time ago, started eating minimally-processed food, and the weight’s been coming off. If you can’t pronounce what’s in your food, put it on your DO NOT WANT list.

    That’s one factor to look at. Then of course people who don’t bother to think take it for granted that if it’s on the grocery store shelf, it’s edible.

  • Anonymous

    7 — Euroblond wrote at 3:26 AM on November 17:

    “The commentator who labels Sweden a Marxist state is woefully ignorant – as are most Americans when it comes to anything you can learn from a book rather than be spoon fed by movies made by high-income groups with their own (massive) axe to grind. Of course there is a link between IQ and obesity – as there is between IQ and smoking. Given what we now know about the health implications of the standard American diet, of course, only cranially-challenged individuals will persist in poisoning themselves!”

    To add from Anon #1; I have also seen all the Bergman films more than once, and had a Swedish girlfriend in the 90s. Both visiting and living in Europe made it clear to me that most Europeans are smokers, and drink copiously as well as consume huge amounts of sweets. (There used to be a comedy record by a Swede called “Cookies, Cakes, and Pies.”) Only a more active lifestyle, including a higher reliance on self-propulsion because of the tendencies of the typical European urban layout has prevented massive obesity and diabetic pandemics. But Europe seems to be catching up to North America regardless of that.

  • john

    Just go through any black neighborhood in summer if you want to see a lot of grossly obese people. Many of the women especially are so overweight that they have trouble walking or climbing stairs.

  • Anonymous

    I think its reasonable to assume that intelligent people will take better care of themselves then dimwits will. This probably includes eating a sensible diet. What we have here is correlation, not causation. The study overlooks this.

  • Anonymous

    The link between obesity and IQ is that it takes a certain kind of foresight to fully realize that excess calories eaten today becomes tomorrows spare tire around the gut. According to Jungs psychometrics, most (~80%) of white people are more present oriented than future oriented. A small minority is more future oriented than present oriented. Of this minority, perhaps half are strongly future oriented. Being future oriented is correlated with a high IQ. The correlation is not total, so there are present oriented, high IQ people.

    But taken in total, less high IQ people will be fat or smoke than average or low IQ people. That is not really because they have high IQs, its because they have future oriented personalities, which are found much more often among high IQ people.

    A present oriented, high IQ person knows that he will be fat from eating that extra food, but he values the pleasure from consumption right now over the shortened lifespan and reduced physical performance of tomorrow. A conclusion that can be drawn from this is that there are white people who are to average white people as average white people are to African blacks, not just in giftedness but also in personality.

  • patthemick

    If the state offers free health care they then claim the right to call the tune. This article is simply laying groundwork for laws limiting food consumption and alchohol usage and exercise regiemens. This will only apply to workers of course since the state wants healthier slaves.

  • Euroblond

    As kindly provided by a fellow commentator: “Sweden has one of the most highly developed welfare states in the world. The country has a higher level of social spending to GDP than any other nation. Additionally it provides equal as well as comprehensive access to education and health care.” My dear fellow, none of this has anything to do with Marxism. Marxism is all about ownership and control of the means of production. What red-blooded American could argue against ‘equal as well as comprehensive access to education’. That’s ‘equal opportunity’ ain’t it? Rather than, say, only children of the rich having a chance of getting into Yale or Harvard. Or, conversely, the absurd ‘affirmative action’ antics which are destroying the fabric of the once-admired US educational establishment. And, my friend, what is wrong with similarly ‘equal’ access to health care? What, the rich kid lives and the poor kid dies? Here in the UK we have many problems, but the NHS (National Health Service), as a concept, definitely isn’t one of them. I have several American friends who have ended up bankrupt having to finance exorbitantly priced hospital treatment for themselves or loved-ones. The last thing anyone needs at such traumatic times is the worry of how to pay for the doctors lavish lifestyles – check out the average incomes of the medical profession in the US. My God, it was once considered a vocation! It’s you who are being scammed, and I sincerely hope that you never fall prey to the US ‘heath’ care system. Anyway, I digress. Also, my comment about books versus movies was meant as a general comment about levels of ignorance of all things foreign – or ‘alien’ as you Americans so quaintly (and tellingly) term it. If y’all read a few more books and watched a few less movies you might not have sleep-walked into the multicultural catastrophe that has changed the face (literally!) of America.

  • Anonymous

    This typical European combination of arrogant ignorance is what so many Americans find really, really annoying.

    “Marxism is all about ownership and control of the means of production.The commentator who labels Sweden a Marxist state is woefully ignorant – as are most Americans when it comes to anything you can learn from a book rather than be spoon fed by movies”

    Sweden IS a socialist state and socialism is part of Marxist ideology. Marxism isn’t just about means of production either. As far as Americans being “ignorant” and “spoon fed”, that is nonsense from typical stupid Euros. You don’t have clue about what we know or our reading habits or anything else, dear.

    “It’s you who are being scammed, and I sincerely hope that you never fall prey to the US ‘heath’ care system”

    Yes, our healthcare system has serious problems with regards to costs and insurance coverage and many want changes. However, your healthcare system has serious problems too, and the majority of Americans, myself included, have no desire for your type of socialized medical system.

    “If y’all read a few more books and watched a few less movies you might not have sleep-walked into the multicultural catastrophe that has changed the face (literally!) of America.”

    “Multicultural catastrophe”–Look at your own country, can we say the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Euroblond

    Good to see a few hackles raised by my remarks! Must you resort to ad hominem attacks? Im sorry if Americans find us ‘really really annoying’. Yes we too have sleepwalked into this mess – but we were lead by people who were wide awake! Im sure we can agree on far more than that upon which we may disagree. I think my point about movies versus books is a fair one. Although our education standards are declining fast – for similar reasons to your own – it’s probably true that, as a proportion, more kids – and adults – read more books than those in the US. The media HAS played a central role in deceiving the American people as to the benefits (?) and dangers of an unprecedented influx of unassimilable ethnic groups. The same goes for the deception around ‘affirmative action’. We have faired little better – except perhaps with regard to employment quotas and the like – we’re not quite there yet! Let’s not squabble over details – and please, don’t be so sensitive to a little criticsm!

  • Anonymous

    “Must you resort to ad hominem attacks?”

    Come on now, you sweepingly insulted all Americans simply because you disagreed with one guy’s views on marxism.

    “Im sorry if Americans find us ‘really really annoying’.”

    I should have clarified. We certainly don’t find all Europeans annoying, just a certain types of pompous American bashers who doesn’t have a clue as to what they’re talking about but think they do.

    “Yes we too have sleepwalked into this mess – but we were lead by people who were wide awake!”

    Oh, our leaders are wide awake. They know EXACTLY what they are doing. Our leaders on the Left do it for ethnic votes in order to keep their power and the Conservatives are in with the big business lobby and their desire for an endless supply of cheap labor.

    “Im sure we can agree on far more than that upon which we may disagree.”

    Very true.

    “it’s probably true that, as a proportion, more kids – and adults – read more books than those in the US.”

    I don’t agree. We have very high sales of books and reading materials and most people here read quite a bit.

    “Let’s not squabble over details – and please, don’t be so sensitive to a little criticsm!”

    You were sensitive to one guy’s comments, insulting all Americans. I don’t care if you disagree, that’s perfectly fine but just don’t insult our entire nationality over one person. I certainly wouldn’t call all Brits ignorant or whatever because I disagreed with one. Thanks

  • Anonymous

    If this is true, every Hispanic Indian in the Americas would have died before age 16. Everyone is apple shaped.

  • Anonymous

    ” According to Jungs psychometrics, most (~80%) of white people are more present oriented than future oriented. A small minority is more future oriented than present oriented. Of this minority, perhaps half are strongly future oriented. Being future oriented is correlated with a high IQ. The correlation is not total, so there are present oriented, high IQ people.”

    As a child and young adult I was very future oriented. (I’m 71)

    It worked until I was 32 years old. Then along came affirmative action and I was told point blank “you will never get another promotion because you are White.”

    It turned out to be true.

    So now I, like all the other low IQ peons throughout history, live day to day.

    Why should a high IQ White American plan for the future when every year more and more affirmative action Judicial diktats and administrative regulations forbid us from making a living?