Recently I read on the internet it is statistically proven I have less chance of contracting diabetes when I sit while I eat; than when I walk while I eat.
Statistic results however always confuse me.
Many components compound to an event or occurrence; I always find it dangerous to take one aspect out of a context to then base data on it.
Would the research have concluded a more general concept, f.i. how I stand less of a chance to get diabetes when I relax more during my day or take my time while I eat I would have found that more plausible than being told I should sit while I eat in order to avoid getting ill.
I can see why being more relaxed in general would decrease my risks. Most, if not almost all modern day diseases, are basically caused by the constant overload of stress factors we are expected to cope with on a daily basis; our fast food and general eating habits only adding to the risk factor.
But to narrow that down to a ‘no walking while you eat conclusion’ seems a dangerous statement to me.
It reminds me of a case study I read about once, about a little town in the south of the United States, where the number of children attracting a certain debilitating disease was considerably higher than in other little towns in that exact same area.
The living conditions of the children in that specific little town where more children became ill;
were exactly the same as the living conditions in all other little towns of that particular district.
Same cultural habits, same sort of foods, same sort of water…
until….someone found out that in that particular town children at more ice cream than children from other little towns in the area.
Focus zoomed in on the ice cream parlor of the town.
All ice cream was tested and researched and even though no fault with the ice cream was found; the owner of the parlor went broke for nobody came in anymore to buy his ice cream. The rumor the ice cream could be the source of the disease was enough. The fact that people had statistically deduced that children who ate more ice cream ran a higher risk of contracting a debilitating disease was enough for people to blame the ice cream.
Until…someone found out that because of the geographical location of that specific little town in the district; – the distance it was removed from the water and the relatively ‘low altitude’ it was located on in comparison to the other villages, caused the temperatures in that town to be slightly higher than anywhere else.
In fact they were just the right temperature for a bacteria that caused a debilitating children’s disease to flourish significantly more than in the other surrounding villages.
But by then the ice cream parlor had gone bust and children of the specific little village were not allowed ice cream anymore.
What it tells me is that we often don’t know what causes something and can easily be wrong in what we deduce, even causing damage to people or products falsely accused of something.
To me it proves statistics can be 100% wrong. Ever since I’m very careful with what I conclude as a result of statistics.
I wish you an open mindful week.
This blog is recorded as weekly end-note of Dutchbuzz.nl, the radio program for internationals, every Tuesday on The Hague FM from 10 to 11 pm. All programs are archived at Dutchbuzz.nl.