nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Test Grade "A" Keeps The Doctor Away?

A quick note on a study that says the higher your grades the better your health.

I won't give an extended analysis of the data.  It's more important to understand what it means when there is an "association" between two things.  What it doesn't mean is that one caused the other.

Here's a quote from the news article (NY Times Well blog, Dec 15):
When they were all in their early 60s, those who had finished in the top quartile were, over all, half as likely to have experienced the declines in health that their peers who graduated in the lowest quartile were experiencing. Asked to assess their health on a scale from ”excellent” to “poor,” the top students ranked their overall health higher, and they were only half as likely to report having a chronic ailment like diabetes, heart disease or respiratory illness.

Maybe these healthier people who ranked high in school were healthier back then, too.
If so, an equally germane hypothesis is that being healthy gets you better grades.  Doesn't that interpretation make just as much sense?
Or, as I've explained before, it may be that health and good grades go together more often in people that share a third, unexplored commonality--the association between grades and health is just a coincidence.
So, don't tell yourself or your kids to make good grades so they can be healthier later in life.  This research doesn't say that.
Doc D

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