Fat Acceptance: Let's Continue To Misuse Correlation and Causation In Order To Harm Fat People!

[Ana's Note: Previously published at Shakesville, with love!
Content Note: Fat hatred, Fertility]

Here is a fun headline: "Being overweight may harm men's semen quality". Shockingly (read: not shockingly at all), the actual study under discussion tentatively found a correlation between (a) higher BMIs and lower ejaculate volume and (b) larger waists and lower sperm count. As best as I can tell from the article, no correlation whatsoever was mapped between high BMI and/or larger waists and an actual practical impact on fertility as measured by not being able to conceive when actually trying to conceive*:
About half of the men had already fathered children when the study took place and none of the couples were seeking help with infertility when they were recruited.

The researchers also did not follow up to see whether the men succeeded in having children later.
So there might be some correlation between weight and semen production which might be statistically significant and which might affect male fertility in an as-yet unquantified way. Do you think this is prematurely being peddled as a FAT MEN ARE INFERTILE!!1! and LOSE WEIGHT TO SAVE YOUR SPERM!1!! by fat hating publications? Is water wet?

Because of course NBC headlined their article with a Scary Headless Fattie and the words "A man this heavy could be harming his sperm." He's harming his sperm by being fat, ya'll! But maybe he'll read this study and this will be the final straw to cause him to stop being fat for the sake of his sperm and then his sperm won't be harmed anymore!

NBC is accusing a random citizen on the street of causing harm to his own sperm count based on a cursory glance at his external appearance. That. Is. Bullshit.

#18: You can diagnose fat people's health issues by looking at them. No.


* Without getting into a whole long thing on fertility, the bottom line is that fertility is not a binary On/Off switch in many (I would even hazard "most") cases. Having a low sperm count might make it more difficult to conceive a child, but many men with low sperm counts are able to father children without medical aid or intervention.


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