10 Embarrassingly Obvious Health Studies
Scientists are rational. They’re logical. They’re smart. That’s what makes all that science so readily believable, right? These folks are experts, and so we listen. But sometimes we run across a study that makes us wonder, “Why did anyone study that? It’s obvious.”
If you can see the air, don’t breathe it
Starting with the air we breathe: Scientists have proven that, yes indeed, air pollution is bad for you. In a study published in August 2007 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers found that long-term exposure to the air in Mexico City, Mexico, is bad for children’s lungs. They concluded “long-term exposure to [air pollutants] is associated with a deficit in [lung function] growth among schoolchildren living in Mexico City.” This study follows another published in the same journal in 2000 that found pollution was bad for kids in Southern California. Good thing they double-checked.
This just in: Cigarettes cost money
Speaking of things that are bad for the lungs—although we might need more obvious studies to prove it—smoking is bad for the wallet. Yes, paying money for cigarettes means you have less money. The study, by a researcher at Ohio State University and funded largely by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was published in 2004 in Tobacco Control. He wrote, “While a causal relation cannot be proven, smokers appear to pay for tobacco expenditures out of income that is saved by non-smokers. Hence, reductions in smoking will boost wealth, especially among the poor.” Guess they aren’t giving butts away for free anymore.
The long road to health
While losing money is bad for you, losing time might be far worse. In the September 2007 Emergency Medicine Journal, researchers reported that traveling longer distances in an ambulance meant you were more likely to die before you got to the emergency room. “Patients with respiratory emergencies showed the greatest association between distance and mortality,” they wrote. Approximately 20 percent, if they had to go 12 miles or more. The British Department of Health sponsored the research, which proves: If you’re in a really bad way, use those last breaths to ask to be taken to the closest hospital.
Access to medical care
Meanwhile, it might not shock you to know that kids who are poor, minority or who lack medical insurance go to the doctor less often than other kids. However, someone thought they should study that. Published in the Journal of Early Intervention, the study found young children in the at-risk groups had fewer visits to health professionals.
These kids today, with their fast cars…
Moving up in age a bit, it’s finally beyond doubt—adolescents are too immature to drive well. Research from the National Institute of Mental Health shows that when teens get behind the wheel, the part of the brain responsible for gauging long-term consequences is still not fully developed. Meaning: Teens have a problem with impulse control. Really? Teens are four times as likely as older drivers to be involved in an auto accident—and three times as likely to die in one, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
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