Friday, November 09, 2007

Stoned kids do better - study

Looks like some sort of social class effect again. Controls for class would have been a big help. My guess is that Swiss middle class kids are more likely to use MJ and all the other relationships observed among MJ users reflect their class origin

A STUDY of more than 5000 youngsters in Switzerland has found those who smoke marijuana do as well or better in some areas as those who don't. But the same was not true for those who used both tobacco and marijuana, who tended to be heavier users of the drug, said the report by Dr J.C. Suris and colleagues at the University of Lausanne. The study did not confirm the hypothesis that those who abstained from marijuana and tobacco functioned better overall, the authors said.

In fact, those who used only marijuana were "more socially driven ... significantly more likely to practice sports and they have a better relationship with their peers" than abstainers, it said. "Moreover, even though they are more likely to skip class, they have the same level of good grades; and although they have a worse relationship with their parents, they are not more likely to be depressed" than abstainers, it said. It did not explain the reasons behind the apparent effect.

The study, published in the November issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, was based on a 2002 survey of 5263 Swiss students aged 16 to 20, of whom 455 smoked marijuana only, 1703 who used both marijuana and tobacco and 3105 who abstained from both. The report said that while marijuana use had declined among US adolescents, it had increased in recent years among the same age group in Switzerland and other European countries. The study said that while one theory held that using legal drugs like nicotine and alcohol opened the door to marijuana and other illegal drug use, recent research also had found marijuana might come first and it "may reinforce cigarette smoking or lead to nicotine addiction ...".

In the study, about half of the tobacco and marijuana group had used the latter drug 10 times or more in the previous month. That compared to 56 per cent in the marijuana-only group who had used the drug only once or twice in the same time period. "These findings agree with previous research indicating that (tobacco) smokers were significantly more likely to be heavy cannabis users than nonsmokers," the study concluded. In addition, those who use only marijuana were less likely to have started using that drug before the age of 15 compared to tobacco users, and the tobacco-marijuana group was more likely to have abused alcohol, the study said.


Fast food stereotypes challenged

TWO South Australian researchers are not swallowing the stereotype view that people who often eat fast-food are from poor families. Fast-food customers are from all ages and backgrounds, say Adelaide University PhD researchers Emily Brindal and Kirsten Dunn. They have presented findings on attitudes and behaviour of customers at major fast-food outlets to the "Shape of Things to Come" obesity conference at the Adelaide Town Hall.

Ms Dunn has found half the respondents who eat fast food once a fortnight are not young, single students but time-poor people aged over 38. Her study of 66 people also showed those aged 38 ate almost as much fast food as younger people. About 60 per cent of people under 38 ate takeaway meals once to three times a week - compared with 50 per cent aged over 38.

Ms Dunn conducted a second study of 404 people in which two-thirds knew frequently eating fast food was poor nutrition. Meanwhile, Emily Brindal, says her on-line survey of 528 people aged 14 to 74 revealed diverse fast-food patronage but similar behaviour.

People who eat fast food apparently watch more television and eat less vegetables, Ms Brindal says. "And yes, people who eat more fast food gain weight," she says. [People who eat more of anything gain weight]



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].

And will "this generation of Western children be the first in history to lead shorter lives than their parents did"? This idea emanates from a much-cited editorial in a prominent medical journal that said so. Yet this editorial offered no statistical basis for its opinion -- an opinion that flies directly in the face of the available evidence.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hummm gotta wonder if it wasn't the fast food industry weighing in (as it where) on this. Someone better tell them about the research on VLCD (very low calorie diet) I doubt this is valid research!