Did a Study Show that Staring at Breasts Is Good for Men's Health?

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"Medical study" supposedly published in the New England Journal of Medicine claims staring at women's breasts every day is good for men's health.

Description: Satire / Email hoax
Circulating since March / April 2000
Status: False (see details below)

Email text contributed by a reader in April 2000:

This is not a joke. It came from the New England Journal of Medicine.
Great news for girl watchers: Ogling over women's breasts is good for a man's health and can add years to his life, medical experts have discovered. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, "Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female is roughly equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out" declared gerontologist Dr. Karen Weatherby.
Dr. Weatherby and fellow researchers at three hospitals in Frankfurt, Germany, reached the startling conclusion after comparing the health of 200 male outpatients - half of whom were instructed to look at busty females daily, the other half told to refrain from doing so. The study revealed that after five years, the chest-watchers had lower blood pressure, slower resting pulse rates and fewer instances of coronary artery disease.
"Sexual excitement gets the heart pumping and improves blood circulation," explains Dr. Weatherby. "There's no question: Gazing at breasts makes men healthier." "Our study indicates that engaging in this activity a few minutes daily cuts the risk of stroke and heart attack in half. We believe that by doing so consistently, the average man can extend his life four to five years."


Don't get your hopes up, guys. No such study was ever published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A search of the thousands of peer-reviewed articles contained in the National Institutes of Health medical journal database turns up zero items documenting the health benefits of staring at women's breasts, and, for that matter, zero items authored by "Dr. Karen Weatherby" (who does not exist, so far as I can tell).

If the story smacks of supermarket tabloid faux-journalism, well, that's precisely what it is. The text first hit the Internet in March or April 2000, mere weeks after a strikingly similar article appeared in the consistently misinformative Weekly World News (nor is this the first time we've encountered baseless Internet rumors traceable to precisely that source). A slightly different version had already appeared in the May 13, 1997, issue of the tabloid.

A fresh round of breast-staring mania overtook the Internet in March 2011, when Fox News republished the story before checking the facts.

It showed up again a few months later on the Scottish news site Daily Record & Sunday Mail: "Doctors Say Looking at Busty Women for 10 Minutes a Day is Good for Your Health."

It goes without saying (I hope) that it's unwise to take medical advice from tabloid "news" stories, still less from forwarded emails. Males who wish to increase their lifespans ought to consider practicing common sense as an alternative — it's more likely to achieve the desired result than any amount of public breast ogling.

Admittedly, I don't have any medical research to back that up. Volunteers?

In the Same Vein

Sources and further reading:

Doctors Say Looking at Busty Women for 10 Minutes a Day is Good for Your Health
Daily Record & Sunday Mail, 9 July 2011

Looking at Big Boobs Adds Years to a Man's Life
Weekly World News, 21 March 2000

Looking at Big Boobs Adds Years to a Man's Life
Weekly World News, 13 May 1997

Last updated: 04/12/13