Janitors' Nightmare: Study Says Chewing Gum Increases TAKS Scores

Janitors' Nightmare: Study Says Chewing Gum Increases TAKS Scores
Photo by Lin Pernille

Let there be jubilation in the halls of junior high schools across the land! A crack Baylor College of Medicine research team has found that chewing gum in class improves TAKS math scores.

The study centered on 108 math students, aged 13-16, at a low-income, predominantly Hispanic Houston charter school. After 14 weeks of study, the researchers concluded that the half that chewed gum (sugar-free, in the study) during homework and tests fared three percent better on their math TAKS than those that went about their tasks slack-jawed.

But before you load up Junior's backpack with a week's supply of Bubblicious, know this: This totally legitimate, above board in every way, utterly scientific beyond a shadow of a doubt study was funded by Wrigley.

Which troubles nutritionist Marion Nestle, Ph.D, a nutritionist and the author of What to Eat. "The only reason to do these studies is to sell more gum," she told CNN.com. "Sponsored studies almost invariably produce results favorable to the economic interests of the sponsor. [They] are always designed in ways that fail to control for alternative explanations for the results."

(The paranoid among you have no doubt noted that the nutritionist is named Nestle, and thus shares the name of a Swiss mega-confectionary that is a rival to Wrigley's parent company Mars. So yeah, she would say that...)

We tried to put those concerns to Craig Johnston, the leader of the Wrigley-funded Baylor team, but we were told he couldn't get back to us today. Should there anything more to chew over bubble up in this juicy little fruit of a story, we'll be on it before you can say "hubba bubba."


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