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Heavier Babies Do Better in School

 
 
Miller
 
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2014 08:39 am
Babies who are allowed to linger in the womb are often healthier, and smarter.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/upshot/heavier-babies-do-better-in-school.html?_r=0
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,445 • Replies: 7
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mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2014 08:58 am
@Miller,
A full incubation-period is a positive.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2014 09:04 am
@Miller,
I hate stories like this. This is an observation - Weight correlates with school performance. This is a hypothesis:

Quote:
The new data suggest that the thresholds to maximize a child’s health seem to be higher, which means that many fetuses might benefit by staying longer in the womb, where they typically add at least a quarter-pound per week.


It is one possible explanation for the observation. It could also be that there is a correlation between genetic factors impacting baby weight and school performance. It could be that parents with more money have better pre-birth healthcare alternatives and so have heavier babies. It could be that low weight births due to maternal health issues correlate or any number of other things. All of those other possible hypotheses are ignored and one completely untested hypothesis is presented as fact. Engineers who do that around here find themselves out of a job, not getting articles in the NY Times.

It's an interesting observation though.
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2014 09:04 am
@mark noble,
Yes, it is.
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2014 09:09 am
@engineer,
All other things constant, it's been observed over the years, that full-term babies have fewer health problems, or health-related problems than do babies born premature.

At birth, full term babies weigh more than babies born premature.


engineer
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2014 09:11 am
@engineer,
Another interesting point. The article talks 10 pound babies: "Mr. Figlio estimates that, all else equal, a 10-pound baby will score an average of 80 points higher on the 1,600-point SAT than a six-pound baby." The average baby weight is 7.5 pounds. A 7.5lb baby is not going to get to ten by staying in the womb longer at a quarter pound a week. What else is it that makes a ten pound child. The article completely overlooks that aspect.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2014 09:13 am
@Miller,
Exactly! Have premies been removed from the data since there is a well known health effect to preterm births? The article skews towards a simple answer to a complex question.

We need a real science press in this country with reporters who understand science, statistics and the scientific method. We are far from that.
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Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Oct, 2014 09:19 am
@engineer,
Yes, many variables haven't been considered. In the article, among many other factors, the author noted that babies born to high school dropouts do less well in school than do babies born to college graduates and this difference is more pronounced, when 10 pound babies are compared to babies born at a lower weight.

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