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Surprising Science

Anti-Vaxxers Idolize Amish Living, Claiming They Don’t Get Sick

There's an article out in the ether titled “Why the Amish Don’t Get Sick,” which seeks to explain why we should move away from vaccinations. It's a dangerous form of pseudo-science, according to Olga Khazan.  

There’s an article out in the ether titled “Why the Amish Don’t Get Sick,” which seeks to explain why we should move away from vaccinations and live more like the Anabaptists. It’s a dangerous form of pseudo-science that Olga Khazan from The Atlantic describes as “catnip for the anti-GMO and anti-vax crowds.”

The article states:

“…if we look at the statistics, the Amish are much healthier than the rest of America. They virtually have no cancer, no autism, and rarely get sick. What are they doing different from the rest of America?”

Khazan lists, in her own piece, everything that’s wrong with this article’s perceptions on the Amish. She states that not only do the Amish get sick, but they get some of the most commonly preventable diseases. NPR reported on one particular outbreak of the measles that affected one Ohio community. They are by no means immune to disease.

Khazan does add one note that the LA Healthy Living article hasn’t about the benefits of Amish living, and it has nothing to do with GMO-free foods (which is also bunk). The Amish have lower rates of certain types of cancer, because they don’t smoke, drink, have sex with lots of different partners, and wear wide-brimmed hats and cover their bodies when they go outside. The idea is hardly romantic. 

People have read and are continuing to read damaging articles such as these. While the heart of the article is in the right place (i.e. eat healthy, reduce stress, and exercise), when it comes to vaccines, it’s off-base. It’s not about protecting the individual—it’s about protecting the population. The information in the article on LA Healthy Living is no-doubt grabbing, but it’s important to research and evaluate the information they’re providing before proceeding into a plain lifestyle. The Amish do get sick, some of them don’t use GMO-free crops, and they aren’t immune to genetic diseases.

Read more at The Atlantic

Photo Credit:‘Nino” Eugene La Pia/Flickr


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