Swimmers are immortal!

I always thought that the risk of dying for men and women across all income and educational levels was 100 percent, but apparently it’s only half of that for white, well-educated, higher-income males who swim, at least according to a University of South Carolina study funded in part by the National Swimming Pool Foundation:

New Study Reveals Swimming Can Cut Men’s Risk of Dying in Half
Research shows swimming may be the prescription for longevity Colorado Springs, Colo./February 2, 2009 A new study shows that swimming cuts men’s risk of dying by about 50% compared to runners, walkers and sedentary peers.

Okay, I am taking this out of context to some extent, but it still looks funny. Slightly more information can be found here.

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  1. #1 by anon on February 2, 2009 - 8:07 pm

    Risk of dying over one’s lifetime is of course always 100%. But as you well know, Kevin, mortality risk is always calculated over shorter time periods, like a year.
    The flippant comment sounds like the sort of stupid utterances you get in the MSM. “ohh look what those stupid scientists are saying this time” ridiculing the science because one cannot be arsed learning about epidemiology, in this case.

  2. #2 by Hadyn on February 2, 2009 - 9:00 pm

    I found a similar thing when doing some demographics in New Zealand. There was a small percentage (from memory 3%) of elderly Maori who never died. The group was Maori 70+years old and there was a list of causes of death and the percentages of all the categories only summed to 97%. And one of the categories was “all other causes”.
    I checked and rechecked and had others check it but it was still there. So it seemed as though if you were Maori and got to be 70 you had a 3% chance of living forever.

  3. #3 by Warren on February 3, 2009 - 12:41 pm

    I would assume dying in half is actually rather common among swimmers in shark-infested waters.

  4. #4 by Kevin Beck on February 3, 2009 - 1:04 pm

    At least you credit me with knowing how mortality stats are calculated, if not with impressive humour. You have to admit that the phrasing could be misleading.
    I think the MSM’s representation of this would be more along the lines of focusing solely on the numbers and ignoring the limitations. The lead researcher says he has no reason to believe that these results can’t be extrapolated to women and lower-income women, which is only true in the same strict logical sense as, “Eight Olympic swimming gold medals, marijuana use linked, bloggers claim.”
    (while squint-eyed bloggers might even frame this as “swimming adds twice as many years to your life as running” or even as “swimmers live twice as long”)

  5. #5 by Kevin Beck on February 3, 2009 - 1:04 pm

    At least you credit me with knowing how mortality stats are calculated, if not with impressive humour. You have to admit that the phrasing could be misleading.
    I think the MSM’s representation of this would be more along the lines of focusing solely on the numbers and ignoring the limitations. The lead researcher says he has no reason to believe that these results can’t be extrapolated to women and lower-income women, which is only true in the same strict logical sense as, “Eight Olympic swimming gold medals, marijuana use linked, bloggers claim.”
    (while squint-eyed bloggers might even frame this as “swimming adds twice as many years to your life as running” or even as “swimmers live twice as long”)

  6. #6 by chris on February 3, 2009 - 4:39 pm

    I wonder if the South Carolina study factored in white, well-educated (OK, Michigan), higher-income males who swim and also hit bongs while at USC football parties.

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