How “headline writers, health-beat journalists, editors embarrass themselves en masse”

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Jonathan

Is it not possible that sicker people are watching TV cause they are unable to do anything else? The results from this study appear to be coincidence at best. Nice job.

Posted by: Jonathan | 08/20/2011 at 09:06 AM

DavidC

It seems really common for people who are, at least on some explicit and conscious level, aware that correlation isn't causation to take correlation as "maybe causation", whatever that means.

Posted by: DavidC | 08/20/2011 at 04:44 PM

Ken

From the abstract "Compared with persons who watch no TV, those who spend a lifetime average of 6 h/day watching TV can expect to live 4.8 years (95% UI: 11 days to 10.4 years) less. " UI is uncertainty interval which I assume is the same as a confidence interval, so it isn't a very convincing study.

It all seems fairly pointless. There is a link between physical inactivity and obesity, and a link between obesity and lifespan. As its fairly reasonable to expect that TV watching cuts into time for physical activity, then there will be a correlation.

Posted by: Ken | 08/21/2011 at 01:21 AM

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I think it’s a very pertinent observation. Perhaps journalists writing on health topics should consider taking courses in epidemiology and health sciences.

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