by guest writer Kurt Steiner
A new study from the Foundation for Medical Research (FMR) identifies a previously overlooked symptom of weight gain to be a possible cause of the malady. The suspect? Oversized pants. According to Dr. Jack Wyman, the lead scientist for the study, “A whopping 72% of those who had serious weight issues also wore oversized pants. That’s nearly 3/4ths of survey group.”
The three-year study entailed over 3,500 participants in 38 different states. It included both sexes and equal numbers of young and old over the age of 18. Different races were also included in proportion to their representation in the general US population.
“We still don’t know how the larger pants are causing the weight gain,” stressed Wyman, “or if it’s a correlation rather than a causation. However, these numbers are very significant and cannot be ignored.”
Dr. Martha Cartwright co-authored the paper on the study that was published in the January issue of Journal of Medical Science. She agreed with Wyman that the cause may be unclear, but the overall finding is newsworthy. “As a statistician, we’re used to looking for subtle differences. Anything over 5% is considered significant and strongly outweighs the null hypothesis. So when we saw 72%, we knew we were onto something dramatic.”
One noticeable factor in those using larger pants is that they are more often men than women. “We’re still looking into that,” Cartwright stated. “For men, it’s 99%, but for women, it’s only 63%. It may be because fewer women wear pants. Or it may be that women are forcing themselves to fit into tighter pants in a vain attempt to appear slimmer. We believe further research is needed to answer these sorts of questions.”
The study attempted to adjust for differences in sex by also including members of the LGBT community. “Most medical studies have nothing to do with clothing,” Wyman observed. “However, in this case, it was relevant. We didn’t want critics to say we were omitting certain populations that might have skewed the results.”
Predicting controversy has become a cottage industry for studies involving lifestyle choices. Minority groups are sensitive to being overlooked or poorly represented in scientific studies. Up until the late 1980s, it was common for most medical studies to exclude women and minorities altogether.
“It’s not about political correctness,” Wyman added. “It’s about better science. Diversity not only makes our society stronger, it also makes our research better.”
“We know dramatic results demand dramatic proof,” warned Cartwright. “We welcome other teams to consult our study and repeat the results. There may be some disagreement over exact terms. For example, we defined oversized pants as anything over a waistline of 36 inches. But even if you raise the number by another two inches, you still get over 67%.”
“We’re very comfortable with our basic results, give or take a few points.” Assured Wyman. “The p-value is off the carts, and numbers don’t lie.”