The federal government is spending nearly half a million dollars to study why obese girls have fewer “dating experiences” and less sex than girls who are not obese.
“Mounting evidence demonstrates that weight influences intimate (i.e., dating and sexual) relationship formation and sexual negotiations among adolescent girls,” the study’s description says.
“Obese girls consistently report having fewer dating and sexual experiences, but more sexual risk behaviors,” it continues.
It also says that obese girls are more likely to engage in more “sexual risk behaviors,” such as not using condoms, when they do have sex with someone.
The National Institutes of Health awarded $466,642 to the Magee-Womens Research Institution and Foundation for the four-year study, titled “The Role of Romantic Relationships in the Sexual Behavior of Obese and Non-Obese Girl [sic],” last week.
The researchers posit that obese girls just don’t have the social skills that non-obese girls do, and that — not their weight — is what causes the differences, and they aim to prove it scientifically.
It is not clear how the institute plans to scientifically measure what constitutes good “social skills,” as standards certainly differ among communities. Neither the program official nor the project leader responded to a request for comment from NRO in time for publication.
The Magee-Womens Research Center, located at the University of Pittsburgh, sponsors researchers who study “reproductive biology and development and diverse aspects of women’s health.”
The study began September 23 and will continue until May 2015.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.