Save sequester money, cut the NIH: Leave fat lesbians alone

With sequestration threatening our very existence, is there anything government could cut? Photo: Tim Kern

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2013 — A March 11 CNS News story by Elizabeth Harrington reveals another place our poor federal government could save a million and a half dollars: It could refrain funding studies of “high public health significance” like the one at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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The NIH (National Institutes of Health) want to know why lesbians are fat at a rate that’s 50 percent higher than heterosexual women.

For some reason, that’s more important than paying for education for soldiers, or keeping suspected illegal criminal invaders detained, or … what else was it that he President said would bring about the end of civilization, if the Republicans didn’t cave yet again on tax increases?

It seems that some 75 percent of lesbians are, well, fat, and that “only” half of heterosexual women are. Interestingly, these same folks say that heterosexual men are twice as likely to be fat as homosexual men. The study, the story says, is being led by Dr. S. Bryn Austin, ScD, who, according to, is “Director of Fellowship Research Training in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

She is also Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Assistant Professor in Society, Human Development, and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.” Her bio mentions that “her research interests include sexual orientation and health disparities.”

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It is interesting that an adolescent specialist is so interested in adult lesbian obesity. She has also spent a significant amount of time figuring out that middle-school girls who diet are much more likely to be smokers than their non-dieting peers.

Apparently she never considered that smoking is a popular weight-control trick, and that young girls may use smoking as just another component of their diets.

At any rate, her work with fat kids has apparently lit an interest in fat gay adults, and she’s figured out a way to get over a million and a half dollars of NIH-laundered taxpayer money (the front-loaded first two years of what could be a five-year deal) to satisfy that curiosity.

Still, one cannot fault Dr. Austin. She’s only doing what academic institutions demand: She’s writing grants, and bringing in money. She has no legal obligation to the public, and her moral compass is skewed enough by her curiosity that she probably doesn’t give a thought to how many people it takes to earn the money she’s getting.

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The fault isn’t really that of the other beneficiaries of the NIH-laundered money, either – the government agency makes the money available. Why not sop it up?

The NIH, whose mission statement is “…to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability,” may be on the hook here.

If it finds that lesbianism is a cause of obesity, they’ll have to discourage lesbianism – and that would be so very politically incorrect! If they find the opposite relationship – that obesity causes lesbianism – then they’ll incur the wrath of the lesbians who will miss their recruitment quotas.

If the study expands to men, and covers the cause/effect relationship between heterosexuality and obesity, what, then? Will the NIH be forced into deciding whether homosexuality or obesity is the greater health risk, and then promoting homosexuality as a path to better health?

Then, what is to be the NIH’s direction to the straight folks of both sexes? Svelte straight women will be left with fat straight men, all in the name of “That’s how it is?” Oh, the humanity!

Perhaps one bit of fallout of sequestration will be to quit funding such research altogether. The Republic will survive without knowing.

Read more Talking Sense with Tim Kern

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Tim Kern

Tim Kern taught economics for fifteen years, and discovered that understanding life is easy; it’s recognizing reality that takes practice. He holds a music degree, and later earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has lived across the US, and now makes his home in Anderson, Indiana.

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