Here Are The Most Common Health Myths Americans Believe In

Kid watches TV
 Miguel Sotomayor


I remember my parents bought a denim beanbag chair when I was around six or seven years old so I could sit closer to our TV. I wore thick bifocal glasses back then, but even with corrective lenses and assurances from my parents that I looked cute and not like a nerd, I still had a hard time clearly watching the Disney Channel from my perch on the couch. When the beanbag arrived, I would pull it up so close to the screen that sometimes I could feel the static itching my nose.

“Don’t sit so close to the screen,” my mom would gently chide. “It’s bad for your eyes.”

MORE: Busting the 5 Biggest Myths About Your Metabolism

Well, apparently it’s not, mom (cue pre-teen eye roll). It’s probably not her fault for falling for the false info, though. According to a recent study by the healthcare company MedicareSupplement.com, roughly a quarter of us wrongly believe in common health myths. Things like: gum takes seven years to digest; turkey makes you sleepy; and eating lots of carrots helps your eyesight.

In the study, more than 1,000 American adults were surveyed to figure out if they believed common health statements were true or false. Mixed in to scientifically-backed medical truths were a series of medical myths. Each myth was confirmed to be untrue by at least three reputable sources, according to the study’s authors.

The most widely believed false statement? Natural sugar is better for you than processed sugar; 64 percent of respondents believed this was true.

Another 46 percent, like my mom, believed sitting too close to the T.V. was bad for your vision. I’ll sit as close to the T.V. as I want, thanks.

Check out the full list of medical myths below to see if you have fallen for any, and read the rest of the study, here.

Research info
MedicareSupplement.com