Saturday, December 29, 2007

Award for silliest health advice ever goes to...

...not "Personal Health" columnist Jane Brody, after all! The award instead goes to psychiatrist Paul Steinberg, also writing in the Times, on the subject of drinking. "If you must binge, start at age 40, not at age 16." This from's current most-emailed article.

Indeed, it is better to be irresponsible at a point in life when one might actually have some responsibilities (including young children), and when one is far more likely to own a car. The advantage to age 40? Early binge drinking has "significant, though often subtle, effects on the brain and cognition." (Prepare to ignore the reality of how almost all the intelligent and unintelligent people you know spent college.) But more obviously, this suggestion has all the practicality of advising that one first begin to experiment with neon hairdye, purchase Goth spiked platform shoes, or whine to one's parents about how things can be so unfair upon reaching middle age.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Health propaganda here in the States always backfires - It's odd that the fitness craze that began in earnest in the 80s led to a nation of collosally obese people.

We recall high school - teachers (many of them smokers) telling students not to smoke because it would kill them and makes them unhealthy - But this kind of rhetoric backfired - since teens are just about the only people who can smoke without noticable health impact - so teloecoping 50 years down the road to speculate about what may happen , if one did not quit or get hit by a bus, was an abstraction - Abstractions are only understood by the small fraction
Alcohol and drug eductation had a similar impact - creating cadres of young people schooled at coverups and going to college for party reasons.

This is all part of our culture - It's all very strange. Wine is actually good for you - but you are supposed to lie and say it is not - thus, creating a hierarchy of people in on the joke.