It might be surprising to find out that the first time the slogan “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” appeared in print was in 1866 – albeit slightly different. In honor of a fitting day – April Fool’s Day – a study was published on whether or not the proverbial advice rings true.
It was found that the original rhyme comes from Wales: “Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread”. The team of researchers from the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor were led by Matthew Davis, PhD, and measuring if the saying is true or not was done in an interesting fashion.
Davis and the study’s co-authors decided that a single visit to the doctor each year might prove the proverb’s success, and they evaluated the outcome in both daily apple eaters and non-apple eaters.
Were you hoping the saying was true? Because apparently, it is not. According to the analysis, daily apple eaters did not present a meaningful statistical difference when compared to the other group. But what the study did find was that an apple a day could help keep the pharmacist away.
The study took into consideration a myriad of factors, both socio-demographic and health-related; when education and smoking were factored in, it turned out there was no reason to believe daily apple eating helps towards visiting the doctor only once a year.
It was surprising to see that out of the total number of 8,399 participants, only 9 percent (753) turned out to be apple eaters, while a striking 7,646 were non-apple eaters.
If the participants ate less than 149 g of raw apple, they were automatically categorized as non-apple eaters, and consuming apple juices or sauces were also excluded. Even though researchers did a thorough job and even split the apple-eaters in three categories (small, medium and large apple), the outcome could not connected them to the likelihood of keeping the doctor away.
Keeping the doctor away was meant in terms of “avoiding health care services”. And what authors actually found is that they instead managed to avoid being prescribed medications.
After adjusting the results of the analysis by adding socio-demographic and health characteristics, statistics showed that daily apple eaters were more likely to avoid prescription medication use (47 percent versus 41 percent).
While it was shown the proverb isn’t exactly true, it is a significant discovery that an apple a day helps us use less medication. Surveying overnight hospital stays or mental health visits also showed that apple eaters cannot keep either of these two away.
Image Source: 10-walls
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