JAMA Offers A Little Light Research for April Fools Day


Each year, in their April Fools Day issue, some of the prestigious medical journals lighten-up and print an article or two of less than serious research. In 2015, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study looking at the following question: does an apple a day truly keep the doctor away? The article titled, Association Between Apple Consumption and Doctor Visits, was a cross sectional study of 8,399 eligible adults. Data was pulled from 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Researchers looked at participants who reported consuming a whole apple within a 24-hour period and compared them with non-apple eaters. The outcome of interest was the number of doctor visits over the course of a year.

There were a total of 753 apple eaters as compared to 7,646 non-apple eaters. Apple eaters avoided doctor visits 39.0% of the time, non-apple eaters 33.9%. After applying statistical adjustments, the results were not statistically significant. Conclusion: “Evidence does not support that an apple a day keeps the doctor away; however, the small fraction of US adults who eat an apple a day do appear to use fewer prescription medications.”

Another wives’ tale put to rest.