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April 13, 2005 at 5:46 PM
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EDMONTON, Alberta, April 13 (UPI) -- A Canadian researcher says ugly children get less attention from their parents than attractive children.

Dr. Andrew Harrell, who recently presented his findings at an Edmonton conference, says his findings are based on an observational study of children and shopping cart safety.

With the approval of management at 14 supermarkets, researchers observed parents and their 2- to 5-year-old children for 10 minutes each, noting if the child was buckled into the grocery cart seat, and how often the child wandered more than 10 feet away. The researchers independently graded each child on a scale of one to 10 on attractiveness.

Findings showed that 1.2 percent of the least attractive children were buckled in, compared with 13.3 percent of the most attractive youngsters. The observers also noticed the less attractive children were allowed to wander further away and more often from their parents.

In total, there were 426 observations at the supermarkets.

Harrell attributes parental preference for attractive progeny on evolution: Such children reflect, presumably, the parents' "best" genetic material.

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