At The Atlantic, Olga Khazan looks at the facts being ignored in a disturbingly popular listicle—”basically just catnip for the anti-GMO and anti-vax crowds”—making the rounds on social media, “Why The Amish Don’t Get Sick”:
The first tip, according to this article, is not getting vaccinated: “In spite of constant pressure from the government, the Amish still refuse to vaccinate.”
Nope. Most Amish parents vaccinate, but even then, the relatively low overall vaccination rate in the community fueled a massive measles outbreak in Ohio’s Amish country earlier this year. The incident proved something that Amish and “English” parents alike should know by now: Vaccines don’t cause autism, but not getting a vaccine can cause outbreaks of nasty, 19th-century diseases.
The rest of the items in the listicle aren’t as terrible. Being physically active, not getting too stressed out, and eating a lot of vegetables are all “Amish” habits the article says other Americans would do well to adopt. However, its suggestion that Amish food contains no GMOs is bunk—some Amish farms do use genetically modified crops for financial and efficiency reasons. Besides, there’s no evidence that genetically modified foods are detrimental to human health in any way.
But it’s the very premise of the article that’s bizarre. If you’re going to hype a community as “never getting sick,” use a place that’s actually remarkably healthy, like Minneapolis. Not only do Amish people get sick, they get some of the worst diseases in the world.
Read the full article here.