Thursday, November 29, 2007


IQ ignored again! Has nobody ever told these idiots that high IQ children can be disruptive out of boredom? Failing to control for IQ in this field is brain-dead. Breaking out the data in terms of IQ might have told us something but this is just one big conflation. Disruptive kids kept up ON AVERAGE. Big deal! The average would have been made up of smarties and dummies. So what does that tell us? Nil. And the ones who did badly in later life would mostly have been the dummies

New research suggests that children entering school with behavior problems, as a rule, can keep pace with classroom learning, but persistent behavior problems can be a strong indicator of how well these students adapt to the work world.

Two studies entirely funded by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Developmental and Learning Sciences program uncovered these results. Researchers working through the Center for the Analyses of Pathways from Childhood to Adulthood (CAPCA) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., conducted both studies.

The findings may help parents, teachers and social and behavioral scientists improve educational and occupational outcomes for disruptive students. "Every student deserves a good education and an opportunity to have a fulfilling work life," said NSF Developmental and Learning Sciences Program Director Amy Sussman. "These findings can help us understand how to make that goal a reality for even the most difficult-to-reach students."

One study examined data from six large-scale studies of almost 36,000 preschoolers in which the same subjects were observed repeatedly over time. The research included two national studies of U.S. children, two multi-site studies of U.S. children, one study of children from Great Britain and one study of children from Canada.

Using various statistical methods to synthesize research results, Greg Duncan, human development and social policy professor at Northwestern University, along with the study's 11 co-authors, found that, surprisingly, difficulty getting along with classmates, aggressive or disruptive behaviors, and sad or withdrawn behaviors in kindergarten did not detract from academic achievement in childhood and early adolescence.

The study's researchers examined several indicators, including picking fights, interrupting the teacher and defying instructions. They found that kindergartners who did these things performed surprisingly well in reading and math when they reached the fifth grade, keeping pace with well-behaved children of the same abilities.

Although Duncan's study found no predictive power in early behavior problems for later learning, another CAPCA study, which examined older children, found such a connection. According to CAPCA investigator Rowell Huesmann, persistent behavior problems in eight-year-olds are a powerful predictor of educational attainment and of how well people will do in middle age.

If behavior problems of the kind seen in younger children continue until age eight, they can create other challenges, said Huesmann. He noted that while a small group of children fall into this category, their behavior has the potential to lead them to lower occupational and academic achievement than that of their better behaved counterparts.

Huesmann based his conclusion on a prior research study and a recent analysis by CAPCA researchers Eric Dubow, Paul Boxer, Lea Pulkkinen and Katja Kokko. That team studied two longitudinal data sets from the United States and Finland. Analysis of data from 856 U.S. children and 369 Finnish children showed that children who engaged in more frequent aggressive behaviors as eight-year-olds had significantly lower educational success by their 30s and significantly lower status occupations by their mid-40s. The results were published in Developmental Psychology. "It makes perfectly good sense that persistent behavior problems would have a substantial impact on later success," said Sussman. "When interviewing for jobs and progressing through one's career trajectory, personality and other characteristics that are not measured by tests certainly come into play."

There's a good chance that personality traits also come into play in the classroom. Huesmann and his colleagues hypothesize that children with persistent behavior problems lasting into the third grade are those who cannot be easily socialized to behave well and who therefore are more likely to experience a "hostile learning environment."

They speculate that teachers and peers likely "punish" these children, reducing or eliminating positive support for learning. But researchers note that if a child's aggression is short-lived, it is unlikely to have the same long-term consequences. "Socialization of disruptive preschoolers by teachers and peers may ensure that a child's behavioral problems do not affect his or her educational achievement," Huesmann said. "Attending class, spending time with classmates, observing the rewards of proper behavior, and being told, 'No,' to correct disruptive behavior can benefit unruly children."

Researchers also noted that popularity and positive social behavior in childhood and adolescence predicted higher levels of educational attainment in early adulthood. They said it is possible that children with stable positive social skills experience a supportive and conducive learning environment.

Duncan's study of kindergartners did not address what types of preschool curricula might be most effective in reducing aggression or promoting school readiness. But researchers pointed out that play-based activities, as opposed to "drill- and practice-based" activities, foster academic and attention skills in ways that are engaging and fun.


Obesity, BMI and political correctness

It has been reported by the Trust for America's Health that West Virginia has the third highest level of adult obesity in the nation at 27 percent and that 65 percent of Americans are overweight. This report ended with a recommendation that more money should be spent for those who do research for nutritional health and for green projects. These claims were made using the body mass index to calculate obesity. We will see that the BMI as used today has little to do with medical science and much to do with political correctness.

The BMI was developed in 1850 by Adolphe Quetelet - a mathematician and sociologist. The BMI is a number derived by taking the weight of a person in pounds and dividing it by the square of their height in inches (weight divided by height times height). This number is then multiplied by 703. This gives the BMI value. A value lower than 18.5 is considered by some to mean that a person is underweight. Normal weight is a value between 18.5 and 25, overweight if more than 25 and obesity if more than 30. Yet, who decides that these values determine if one is underweight, overweight or obese?

The first thing that many of you have already noticed is that the BMI does not take into account sex, body frame, actual fat, muscle mass, ethnic norms or health. What is considered normal is derived by looking at the average weight and height of sedentary to average city dwellers. The problem with this approach is that this makes the socialist assumption that we are sexless, have the same body frame, same ethnicity, same muscle mass and are all sedentary. This is all done without actually measuring fat.

Men, athletes, American rural populations, blacks and those who are active all tend to have higher muscle mass and bone density than the theoretical sexless white collar urbanites have. Thus, all these groups will tend to have an overestimated amount of obesity.

The average BMI the United States used to define being overweight was more than 27.8 - significantly higher than today's 25. However, under pressure from the World Health Organization - which defined the number 25 as being the upper-limit for normal weight - it was based on their evaluation of world populations including Africa, India and other Third-World areas where there is endemic malnutrition if not outright starvation. Based on this evaluation, our government changed what it called overweight to mean a BMI value of 25. Thus, with the wave of the wand 30 million Americans were made overweight in one day.

As Americans we tend to have increased in size because of our majority European heritage, promotion of school athletics and improved health and nutrition. Is it then fair to say that we are fat and unhealthy because we are larger than our smaller counterparts' worlds without taking into consideration heritage, lifestyle, muscle mass and actual fat?

Indeed, a recent study published by Journal of the American Medical Association, using the current defined limits of what is considered normal by the BMI, actually found that those who were overweight actually had less cancer, less infections, less respiratory disease, less mental illness and arguably less neurological disease and cancer than those who were so-called of normal weight or underweight, according to today's BMI values.

The BMI tends to overestimate being overweight and obese in Americans, athletes, racial minorities, American rural populations, the working class and others. Unfortunately, it seems that the current politically correct BMI values may end up killing thousands of Americans.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

9). And how odd it is that we never hear of the huge American study which showed that women who eat lots of veggies have an INCREASED risk of stomach cancer? So the official recommendation to eat five lots of veggies every day might just be creating lots of cancer for the future! It's as plausible (i.e. not very) as all the other dietary "wisdom" we read about fat etc.

10). And will "this generation of Western children be the first in history to lead shorter lives than their parents did"? This is another anti-fat scare that emanates from a much-cited editorial in a prominent medical journal that said so. Yet this editorial offered no statistical basis for its opinion -- an opinion that flies directly in the face of the available evidence.

Even statistical correlations far stronger than anything found in medical research may disappear if more data is used. A remarkable example from Sociology:
"The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre's yield of cotton. He calculated the correla-tion coefficient between the two series at -0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi-tions and lynchings in Raper's data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal-ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi-tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added."
So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. But in medical research, data selectivity and the "overlooking" of discordant research findings is epidemic.


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