An apple a day won't keep the doctor away

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

An apple a day won’t keep the doctor away but it could help cut down prescription medications, according to US research.

Scientists compared daily apple eaters with non-apple eaters and found there was no difference between doctor visits.

However, the apple eaters had slightly better odds of avoiding prescription medication.

Matthew A. Davis, of the University of Michigan, and coauthors analysed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2008 and 2009-2010). Of the 8,399 in the survey, 753 (9%) were apple eaters.

Apple eaters were more likely to have a higher educational attainment, to be from a racial or ethnic minority and be less likely to smoke.

“Keeping the doctor away” was measured as no more than one visit to a GP in the past year.

“Our findings suggest that the promotion of apple consumption may have limited benefit in reducing national health care spending,” the study says. “In the age of evidence-based assertions, however, there may be merit to saying ‘An apple a day keeps the pharmacist away’.”

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