Wednesday, November 22, 2006

“From the pages of the medical journal Duh . . .”

. . . or so would go Norm Macdonald’s punchline when he anchored SNL’s Weekend Update, after reading an item about a painfully obvious fact that some institution felt compelled to go out and research anyway.

Today, the above-the-fold front page story in the Toronto Star is that people who live in wealthier neighbourhoods enjoy better health, supported by a study released yesterday by CIHI:

In general, residents of neighbourhoods with a higher-than-average percentage of postsecondary graduates and a higher than-average median income are more likely to report excellent or very good health status and to be physically active, and less likely to report being smokers.
--“Improving the Health of Canadians: An Introduction to Health in Urban Places,”Canadian Institute for Health Information, page 27

You don’t say. Maybe it’s because, if they live in those neighbourhoods, they are more likely to be wealthier and better educated themselves and therefore their health has nothing to do with the neighbourhood they live in, but with their own personal circumstances. Ya think?

This is sadly typical of many studies that end up proving a mere correlation between two facts –not a causal relationship – usually to serve the political agenda of whomever is doing the study.

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