An apple a day will not only keep the doctor away but may also keep the pharmacist away! This is because apple eaters are likely to use less prescription medications, reveals a new study.
Matthew A. Davis of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and co-authors analysed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2008 and 2009-2010).
"Our findings suggest that the promotion of apple consumption may have limited benefit in reducing national healthcare spending," said Davis.
The authors compared daily apple eaters (those who consumed at least one small apple per day) with non-apple eaters, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine
Of the 8,399 survey participants who completed a dietary recall questionnaire, 753 (9%) were apple eaters and 7,646 (91%) were non-apple eaters.
There was no statistically significant difference between apple eaters and non-apple eaters when it came to keeping the doctor away when socio-demographic and health-related characteristics were taken into account.
However, apple eaters had marginally higher odds of avoiding prescription medications, according to the results.
A prescription medication is a pharmaceutical drug that legally requires a medical prescription to be dispensed. In contrast, over-the-counter drugs can be obtained without a prescription.
The authors found no difference between apple eaters and non-apple eaters when measuring the likelihood of avoiding an overnight hospital stay or a visit to a mental health professional.
"In the age of evidence-based assertions, however, there may be merit to saying 'An apple a day keeps the pharmacist away," the study concluded.