Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Final note comes early

A story out of Los Angeles today kind of states the obvious, really. However, it brings up some interesting conversation points:

By Shari Roan (c) 2007, Los Angeles Times

“And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died.”— Don McLean, “American Pie”

A new study has found that rock and pop stars are more than twice as likely to die at a young age than the rest of the population — and more than three times as likely to die within five years of becoming famous.
The unhealthful behavior that leads to such untimely deaths harms more than musicians, the researchers said. It also sets a bad example for the millions of people who emulate them.

“Like any industry, the music industry should see the health of its participants as a priority as well as the wide effect it may have on consumers of its products,” said Mark A. Bellis, the study’s lead author and director of the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, in an interview conducted by e-mail.

“It is, after all, a music industry, not a promotional tour for alcohol and drugs.”

Bellis says his research team undertook the study, which claims to be the first to quantify the effect of pop music stars’ live-fast-die-young culture, because the death rates in the pop industry have not been well studied and because pop stars have tremendous influence on others.

Although the researchers expected to find that musicians die younger — after all, that is the common perception — they were surprised to see how many of those deaths occurred near the peak of fame and that the death rate remained double that of the normal population even 25 years after the musicians became famous.

It is a rare example of a group of mostly wealthy people who do not have better health outcomes than people of lower socioeconomic status, he said.