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The Relationship Between Diet And Social Behaviour And The Incidence Of Colds

2405 words - 10 pages

It is safe to say that the majority of people understand that what they eat has some effect upon their health. Nearly anyone can observe that after eating too much junk food, they tend to have an upset stomach, or that after they eat a large meal, they feel tired. Many people in the United States believe that a bowl of chicken soup can help alleviate the common cold, and that "an apple a day will keep the doctor away." In China, herbs have long been used to treat various maladies. The drugs ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, found in many over-the-counter cold remedies, are derived from the "ma huang" plant which has been used in China to treat colds and flu for more than five thousand years ...view middle of the document...

The survey method was utilized with questions focusing on how healthy each participant's diet was and how often they became ill with the cold and/or the flu. Other possible factors that could affect health were also taken into account, and therefore questions regarding smoking, exercise and stress were also included. We predict that the survey data will show that those participants who eat a healthier diet have a lower incidence of the cold and/or the flu; it follows that our hypothesis is that the healthier a person's diet is, the less likely that person is to be stricken by a cold or the flu.METHODParticipantsThe participants in this study were an accidental/convenience sample of 156 men and women (96 women, 60 men). The participants' age range was from 16 to 77. There were four researchers in this study and each surveyed a relatively distinct group, each group being approximately equal in size. The four groups were as follows: nurses and other allied health professionals at a Boston, Massachusetts hospital; participants in a church "penny sale" in southern New Hampshire; pharmacy technicians at a chain pharmacy in southern New Hampshire; and students at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences in Boston, Massachusetts. Each participant was asked to complete our survey which contained questions pertaining to their health, quality of their diet, exercise, smoking and stress. Subjects were not paid for completing the survey. The anonymity of the participants was provided for as best possible by not numbering the surveys and not keeping record of the identities of the participants.ApparatusOur survey is in appendix A. We included basic demographical questions in our survey (age and gender). The dependent variable of our hypothesis is the frequency of coming down with the cold and/or the flu. This variable was operationalized by asking how many times the participant had been ill with the cold/flu over the past twelve months. The time period of twelve months was chosen since it is a reasonable amount of time to recall how often one had been sick. An unhealthy diet was operationalized as containing more fast food and sweets/junk food, hence the questions regarding the frequency with which participants ate fast food and sweets/junk food was included. A healthy diet was operationalized as containing more fruits and vegetables, hence the questions regarding the frequency with which participants ate fruits and vegetables were included. We considered eating too much or too little of any food as being unhealthy as well, so the question of how many meals eaten per day was included in the survey. A potential problem with this question however is that it only provides for an answer with respect to the frequency of meals, but not their size. One could presumably eat five small meals one day and then eat two large meals the next, and still eat the same amount of food and take in the same amount of nutrition on both days. Other factors...

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