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Current time:0:00Total duration:10:45

Video transcript

I have this article right here from WebMD and the point of this isn't to poke holes at WebMD I think they have some great articles and they have some great information on their site but what I want to do here is is to think about what a lot of articles you might read or a lot of research you might read are implying and to think about whether they really imply what they claim to be implying so this is from this is an excerpt of an article and the title of the article says eating breakfast may beat teen obesity so they're there already they're already trying to kind of create this this this cause-and-effect relationship there the title itself says if you eat breakfast eat breakfast if you eat breakfast then you will you're less likely or you won't be obese you're not going to be obese so that the title right there already sets up this that eating breakfast maybe teen obesity and then they tell us about the study in the study published in Pediatrics researchers analyzed the dietary and weight patterns of a group of 2216 adolescents over a five-year period from public schools in Minneapolis st. Paul Minnesota and I won't talk too much about this looks like a good you know sample size it was over a large period of time I'll just give the researchers to benefit the doubt assume that it was it was over a broad audience that they were able to control for a lot of variables but then they go on to say the research is right that teens who ate breakfast regularly had a lower percentage of total calories from saturated fat and ate more fiber and carbohydrates and to some degree that first then those who skipped breakfast and to some degree this first sentence is obvious breakfast tends to be things like cereals grains you know you eat syrup you eat waffles that all tends to fall in the category of carbohydrates and sugars and frankly that's not even necessarily a good thing not obvious to me whether bacon is more or less healthy than downing a bunch of syrup or Froot Loops or whatever else but we'll let that be right here in addition regular breakfast eaters seemed more physically active than their breakfast skippers so over here they're once again trying to create this other cause-and-effect relationship regular breakfast eaters seemed more physically active than their breakfast Gator skippers so the implication here is that breakfast that breakfast breakfast makes you makes you more active and then this last sentence right over here they say overtime researchers found teens who regularly ate breakfast tended to gain less weight and had a lower body mass index than breakfast skippers so you could in they're telling us that breakfast breakfast skipping this is the implication here breakfast skipping is more likely or it can be a cause of making you overweight or maybe even making you obese so the entire narrative here from the title all the way through every paragraph is look breakfast prevents obesity breakfast makes you active breakfast skipping will make you obese oh you just say that boy I have to eat breakfast and you should always think about the motivations and the industries around things like breakfast but the more interesting question is does this research really tell us that eating breakfast can prevent obesity does it really tell us that breakfast eating breakfast will cause something to become more active or does it really tell us that breakfast skipping can make you overweight or make it obese or is more likely are they just showing that these two things tend to go together and this is a really important difference and let me let me kind of state slightly technical words here but and they sound fancy but they really aren't that fancy are they pointing out causality are they pointing out causality which is what it seems like they're implying eating breakfast causes you to not be obese breakfast causes you to be active breakfast skipping causes you to be obese so it looks like they are the kind of implying causality they're implying cause and effect but really what the study looked at is correlation is correlation so we're really the whole point of this is to understand the difference between causality and correlation because they're saying very different things causality versus correlation causality versus correlation and as I said causality says a causes B while correlation just says a and B tend to be observed at the same time whenever I see B happening it looks like a is happening at the same time whenever a is happening it looks like it also tends to happen with B and the reason why it's super important to notice the distinction between these is you can come to very very very very different conclusions so the one thing that this research does do assuming that it was performed well is it does show a correlation so this study does show correlation it does show if we believe all of their data that breakfast skipping correlates with obesity and obesity correlates with breakfast skipping we're seeing it at the same time activity correlates with breakfast and breakfast correlates with activity that all of these correlate what they don't say what and there's no data here that lets me know one way or the other what is causing what or maybe you have some underlying cause that is causing both so for example they're saying breakfast causes activity or they're implying breakfast causes activity they're not saying it explicitly explicitly but maybe activity causes breakfast maybe they didn't they didn't write the study that people who are active maybe they're more likely to be hungry in the morning activity activity causes breakfast and then you start having a different takeaway then you don't say wait if if I maybe if you're active and just get breakfast and I'm not telling you that you should I have no data want to do that maybe you leave a little you'll lose even more weight maybe it's even a healthier thing to do we're not sure so they're trying to say look if you have breakfast it's going to make you active which is a very positive outcome but maybe you can have the positive outcome without breakfast who knows likewise they say breakfast skipping or they're implying breakfast skipping can cause obesity but maybe it's the other way around maybe people who have a high body fat maybe for whatever reason they're less likely to get hungry in the morning so maybe maybe maybe it goes this way maybe there's a causality there or even more likely maybe there's some underlying cause that causes both of these things to happen and you could think of a bunch of different examples of that one could be one could be the physical activity so physical activity and these are all just theories I have no proof for it but I just want to give you different ways of thinking about the same data and maybe not just coming to the same conclusion that this article is it seems like it's trying to lead us to conclude that we should eat breakfast if we don't want to become obese so maybe if you're physically active that leads maybe maybe when you are physically active that leads for you leads to you being hungry in the morning so you're more likely to eat breakfast and obviously being physically active also makes it so that you you burned calories you have more muscle so that you're you're not obese you are not obese so notice this isn't if you view things this way if you say physical activity is causing both of these then all of a sudden you lose this connection between breakfast and obesity now you can't make the claim that if if that somehow Matt breakfast is the magic is the magic is the magic formula for someone to not be obese so let's say that there is an obese person let's say this is the reality that physical activity is causing both of these things and let's say that there is an obese person what will you tell them to do will you tell them eat breakfast and you won't become obese anymore well that might not work especially if they're not physically active I mean what's going to happen if you have an obese person who is not physically active not physically not physically active and then you tell them to eat breakfast maybe that'll make things worse and based on that that the advice or the implication from from the article is the wrong thing physical activity maybe is the thing that should be focused on maybe something other than physical activity maybe you have maybe you have sleep maybe people who sleep late sleep late and they're not getting enough sleep not enough there's not enough sleep maybe someone who's not getting enough sleep maybe that leads to obesity and obviously because they're not getting enough sleep they wake up as late as possible and they have to run to the next appointment and or they have to run to school in the case of students and maybe that's why they skip for breakfast maybe that's why they skip breakfast so once again if you if you find someone obese maybe the rule here isn't to force a breakfast down your throat maybe it'll become even worse because maybe it is the lack of sleep that's causing your metabolism to slow down or whatever so it's very very important when you're looking at any of these studies to try to say is this a correlation or is this a is this causality if it's correlation you cannot make the judgment that hey eating breakfast is necessarily going to make someone less obese all that tells you is that these things move together a better study would be one that is able to prove causality and then we could think of other other underlying underlying causes that would kind of break down the narrow that this that this piece is trying to say I'm not saying it's wrong maybe it's absolutely true that eating breakfast will fight obesity but I think it's equally or more important to think about what the other causes are not to just make a blanket statement like that so for example maybe maybe poverty maybe poverty causes you to skip a breakfast for multiple reasons maybe you're both of your parents are working there's no one there to give you breakfast maybe there's more stress than the fit who knows what it might be and so when you have when you have poverty maybe you're more likely to skip breakfast and maybe when there's poverty and maybe you have too both your parents are working and the kids have to make their own dinner and whatever else maybe they also eat less healthy so eat less healthy eat less healthy at all times of day at all times a day and then that leads to obesity so once again in this situation if this is the reality of things just telling someone to also eat breakfast regardless of what that breakfast is even if it's you know fruit loops or syrup that's probably not going to help the situation maybe it's maybe it's just you know eating unhealthy dinners maybe eating unhealthy dinners is the underlying cause unhealthy dinner and if you eat an unhealthy dinner maybe by breakfast time you you're not hungry still because you binge so much on breakfast so you skip breakfast and this also leads to obesity but once again if this is the actual reality doing the advice that that articles saying might actually be a bad thing if you eat an unhealthy dinner and then force yourself to eat a breakfast when you're not hungry that might make the obesity even worse so the whole point of this video isn't to say that the implications from that article are necessarily wrong that the important thing is to just realize that it might be wrong and that just because you saw this correlation with the data it doesn't mean that eating breakfast is going to somehow magically fight obesity