Last Thanksgiving, Half Sigma posted about an enjoyable online FAQ regarding turkey farming. In reading it, one discovers that domesticated turkeys have become too fat to mate naturally and consequently have to be artificially inseminated. HS wonders if there’s anything for the turkies’ persecutors to take away from this:
People have also been, allegedly, getting fatter. I think we need to look into whether there’s a genetic explanation. Are fat people having more children than thin people? It’s well established that married people weigh more than single people, and traditionally married people have children and single people don’t. Maybe people are getting fatter for the same reason that turkeys have gotten too fat to mate. It’s all in the breeding.
Jokah Macpherson looked at the GSS for confirmation or lack thereof, but only briefly summarized what he found, so I’ll quantify it. In 2004, interviewers assessed participants’ weights, placing them in one of four categories. The following table shows the number of children members of each category average:
Among women, there is little difference across weight groups. To the extent that we’re breeding ourselves into corpulence, it is on account of the Y’s contribution. Guys who are thin as rails get a lot less action and have far fewer kids than men with meat on their bones do. Two-thirds of skinny guys do not have any children at all. Women want men who are able to bench press them, not be bench-pressed by them!
Parenthetically, notice how women report having more children in aggregate than men do. Women are always aware of when they procreate. In contrast, some guys will go to their graves without knowing.
GSS variables used: INTRWGHT, SEX(1)(2), CHILDS