Wednesday, September 05, 2007


This is one I won't argue with

Rock and pop stars are more than twice as likely to suffer a premature death as other people, according to new research. A study of more than 1,000 stars who shot to fame between 1956 and 1999 found they were much more likely to die, especially within a few years of becoming famous.

While the deaths of stars such as Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain have been recorded as involving drugs or mental health problems, little has been reported on their overall likelihood of dying, the authors said. More studies are also needed to examine the effect of rock stars' lifestyles on their fans, they added.

The research, published ahead of print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, studied celebrities from North America and Europe from the All-Time Top 1,000 albums from the genres rock, punk, rap, R&B, electronica and new age. The earliest date of fame was 1956 for Elvis Presley and the latest was 1999 for Eminem.

The study found that, between two and 25 years after fame, the risk of death was two to three times higher for North American and European pop stars when matched against US and UK populations. Overall, the study found that 100 pop stars died between 1996 and 2005 - 7.3% of women and 9.6% of men. The death rate among European artists was around half that for North American artists. Among the Europeans, the average age of death was 35 and 42 among the Americans.

In both the North American and European samples, a chronic drug or alcohol-related problem or overdose was identified as associated with over a quarter of deaths. The authors, led by Mark Bellis from the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, concluded: "Pop stars can suffer high levels of stress in environments where alcohol and drugs are widely available, leading to health-damaging risk behaviour. "However, their behaviour can also influence would-be stars and devoted fans."


"Healthier" British school meals 'a failure'

Thousands of pupils have been shunning school meals since the Jamie Oliver inspired crusade to make them healthier, it was claimed. Atotal of 428,000 children rejected food cooked at school in the two years after the campaign was launched in 2005, according to the Liberal Democrats. They said two-thirds of secondary and 60 per cent of primary school pupils do not now eat meals provided by schools. The Government launched the crusade after TV chef Oliver attacked school meals for being junk-food based.

Lib Dem schools spokesman David Laws said: 'These figures show the English school meals service is in meltdown. 'The new standards for healthier school meals have been introduced too quickly, too inflexibly and with too little education of pupils and parents.' He added that prices of school meals 'have been rising too quickly'.

Kevin Brennan, the minister responsible for school meals, defended the scheme. 'It is true there has been a dip in take-up in some secondary schools, but some have actually seen an increase,' he said.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.


1 comment:

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