Eric Nagourney writes in the Health section of the New York Times:
Thinking about a life of crime? You may want to hit the gym first.Hmmhmmhmm, what could possibly be the underlying link between being muscular and being aggressive? Thank God this is a "field that has fallen into disrepute" due to political correctness. Otherwise, somebody might have learned something by now.
A new study that looked at the physical characteristics of about 5,000 Arkansas inmates found that most were athletically fit when they entered prison. The researchers referred to them as mesomorphs.
Oh, there were also endomorphs and ectomorphs â€” fatties and skinnies to the lay people. But the study found that they were less likely to have been imprisoned for violent crimes.
The researchers, whose study appears in The Social Science Journal, used body mass index, a measure of height and weight, to assess fitness.
Scientists have long explored whether physical traits play a role in criminality â€” a field that has fallen into disrepute when its practitioners advanced claims about characteristics like race.
The new study does find that mesomorphs make up an unusually large percentage of the prison population, from 62 percent to 73 percent.
But that does not mean that being fit is a predictor of criminal tendencies, said one of the authors, Jeffery T. Walker of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
â€?Those who are fit may have personalities that are more likely to make them violent,â€? Dr. Walker said in an e-mail message.
â€?In essence,â€? Dr. Walker said, â€?what drives them to be fit also drives them to be violent. It is also likely that those who are fit find themselves in violent situations more.â€?[Vital Signs Exercise: Link Is Seen Between Crime and Fitness, June 17, 2008]