Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid
July 17, 2009
As if we stupid people didn’t have enough to worry about, a new study done in the United Kingdom has shown that having a low I.Q. puts one at greater risk for heart disease.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow studied a group of 4,289 former U.S. soldiers and determined that intelligence alone explained 23 percent of the differences in mortality between the highest and lowest socioeconomic groups.
Now, as one of those people whose I.Q. is probably well below average, I can assure you I have no idea what that is supposed to mean. As near as I can figure, what the statistics are saying is that dumb people are 23 percent more likely to die than smart people. I’m not at all sure how that’s supposed to work, but the implications of the study should still be clear to even the dimmest bulbs. In short, if your brain is stupid, your heart probably is too.
The study’s authors, whose findings were published in the European Heart Journal, acknowledged that socio-economically challenged people have always been known to have worse health and die earlier, but, according to lead researcher Dr. David Batty, “Environmental exposures and health-related behaviors, such as smoking, diet and physical activity, can explain some of this difference but not all of it.”
This, supposedly, is where low I.Q. comes into the equation, although the study was unclear on exactly why that might be the case. The most probable scenario is that a lack of intelligence contributes to other factors that lead to unhealthy conditions, which is to say that dumb people are less educated and make less money, therefore they have poorer diets, are less likely to seek preventive medical care and, apparently, spend what little money they have on cigarettes.
So basically what the study is telling us is that if you are none too bright, you are also likely fat and poor, and you don’t get enough exercise because you’re too dumb to understand the relationship between physical activity and improved health. Oh, and you’re also probably uninsured, meaning you’re the reason everyone else’s health insurance is so expensive. Thanks, tubby.
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If all this seems a little condescending, don’t worry. Stupid people, if they can read at all, generally don’t read things like the European Heart Journal, so it’s a good bet they’ll never know how badly they’re being portrayed in the study. In fact, it’s reading and comprehension, or a lack thereof, that the study’s authors think might be to blame for dumb people’s poor health in the first place.
According to Dr. Batty, the results of the study imply that the I.Q. of the general public should be considered more carefully when it comes to things like warning labels and health promotion campaigns. “I think public health messages on things like diet, exercise and smoking could be simplified,” he said, making it all too clear how little respect he has for the less intelligent among us.
Unless you live under a rock or in the deepest jungles of Borneo, you already know that smoking is bad for you. Likewise, I’m sure you’re aware, no matter how dumb you are, that eating fast food at every meal is not what one should consider a proper diet. And if you need someone to tell you that getting off the couch and exercising is good for your health, well, then I just feel sorry for you.
Nevertheless, you can expect help with these incredibly difficult concepts in the near future from well-meaning but condescending people like Dr. Batty and his colleagues. The first thing they have planned to improve your lifestyle is a new warning on cigarette packs that will cover as much as 60 percent of the packaging and read, “Cigarettes cause cancer” or “Smoking can kill you.” Some time after that I imagine couches will come with a warning label that says, “Spending all your time sitting on this instead of moving will make you fat and unattractive.”
I think we need to go even further with the warnings, though. In my opinion, every street corner in America should have a large sign reminding us that, “Getting hit by a car can result in serious injury or death.” And beaches and pools should come with the warning, “Trying to breath while under water can lead to drowning.” We’re stupid, after all. There’s a pretty good chance a lot of us might not grasp those concepts without help from smart people.