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An Apple a Day May Keep the Pharmacist Away

No effect on doctor visits, but a slight decrease in need for prescription meds

MONDAY, March 30, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Apple eaters are less likely to need a prescription medicine, according to new research. The study was published online March 30 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, looked at data from 8,399 people who took part in federal health surveys between 2007 and 2010. Of those participants, 753 (9 percent) were apple eaters — at least one small apple per day — and the rest were non-apple eaters.

Apple eaters were slightly less likely to use prescription medications, reported a team led by Matthew Davis, D.C., M.P.H., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor. But apple consumption was not linked to other health markers — things such as the number of annual doctor visits a person made, frequency of overnight hospital stays, or visits to a mental health professional. And the study wasn’t designed to find that apple consumption caused any uptick in health. Davis and colleagues found that people who ate at least one apple each day also tended to have higher levels of education and were less likely to smoke.

Overall, the findings “suggest that the promotion of apple consumption may have limited benefit in reducing national health care spending,” the authors write.

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