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Read: Is Your Lifestyle Healthy.docx

Then answer the following 3 questions:

1.  This study makes many suggestions and shows many
correlations between lifestyle choices and possible health side effects. Name
the two that are most relevant to you and whether they will affect your
choices. Do you think that this type of information can affect change overall?

2. 
Experimental
studies apply a method, procedure, or intervention to a group (sample) to see
if that application makes a significant difference between that sample group as
compared to the population that the sample was collected from. However, why are
experiments often unethical, not feasible, or too expensive? What does it mean
to “control” all other variables or factors?

3. 
Think of a
research question that you would like to answer. Write it here and think about
how you might test it.

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Is Your Lifestyle Healthy?
Consider the following findings from statistical studies:
• Smoking increases the risk of heart disease.
• Eating margarine can increase the risk of heart disease.
• One glass of wine per day can protect against heart disease but increases the risk of breast
cancer.
• Potato chips and sugary sodas are the foods most strongly associated with weight gain.
You are probably familiar with some of these findings, and perhaps you’ve even altered your
lifestyle as a result of them. But where do they come from? Remarkably, these and hundreds of
other important findings on public health come from huge prospective studies that have provided
data for hundreds of smaller statistical studies. The longest-running of these is the Harvard
Nurses’ Health Study, which began in 1976 when Dr. Frank E. Speizer decided to study the
long-term effects of oral contraceptives. He mailed questionnaires to approximately 370,000
registered nurses and received more than 120,000 responses. He chose to survey nurses because
he believed that their medical training would make their responses more reliable than those of
the general public.
As Dr. Speizer and his colleagues sifted through the data in the returned questionnaires, they
realized that the study could be expanded to include more than just the effects of contraceptives.
Today, this research team continues to follow many of the original 120,000 respondents.
Annual questionnaires are still a vital part of the study, allowing researchers to gather data about
what the nurses eat; what medicines and vitamins they take; whether and how much they
exercise, drink, and smoke; and what illnesses they have contracted. Some of the nurses also
provide blood samples, which are used to measure such things as cholesterol level, hormone
levels, genetic variations, and residues from pesticides and environmental pollutants. Dr.
Speizer’s faith in nurses has proven justified, as they reliably complete surveys and almost
always provide properly drawn and labeled blood samples upon request.
After more than three decades of correspondence, both the researchers and the nurses say they
feel a sense of closeness. Many of the nurses look forward to hearing from the researchers and
say that the study has helped them to pay more attention to how they live their lives. Today, as
the original nurses become elderly, the study is beginning to turn out results that should shed
light on factors that influence longevity and health in old age.
The success of the Harvard Nurses Study has spurred its expansion and many similar studies of
large groups. When you see statistical reports based on these studies, remember the hundreds of
thousands of people whose willingness to participate in these studies is making life better for
everyone.

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