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The dangers of walking and talking

Remember the old joke about walking and chewing gum at the same time? Well, there's new evidence out today about what might be the modern equivalent: Walking and talking on a cell phone. And it's no laughing matter.

Researchers at the University of Illinois studied 36 college students as they talked on a cell phone while walking on a treadmill in a "virtual environment" meant to simulate crossing a busy street. Those who were talking on a cell phone took 25 percent longer to cross the street than those who were not on the phone, the researchers report in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention. They were also more likely to fail to cross the street in the 30 seconds alloted. Those who were not on the phone had no problem making it across in time. Those who were listening to music did just fine

In a second, unpublished study, the researchers performed the same study on 48 adults ages 60 and older, including some with a history of falling. Older adults on the phone got "run over" about 15 percent more often than those who were not chatting on their cells and those with a history of falling fared even worse. (None of the college students were run over.)

By Rob Stein  |  November 18, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Alzheimers/Dementia , Family Health , Prevention , Seniors  
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I'm not at all surprised by these findings-pedestrians in Bethesda are constantly on their phones crossing AGAINST THE LIGHT completely oblivious to what's happening around them.

Posted by: jws3 | November 18, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, oblivious to everything and everyone. Besides being rude and inconsiderate to those around them, it's become a disease, i.e., an incessant need to be connected. It really is okay to be alone for a little while.

Posted by: JimJoe | November 18, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of the study, I remain convinced that walking and chewing gun is still far more dangerous.

(Editors: There's a typo in the first sentence of the blog post.)

Posted by: machooz | November 18, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Today I almost ran over a 13 year old boy in our neighborhood who was skateboarding in the middle of the street (around a blind corner) while talking on a cell phone! Luckily I was only going 10 mph and was able to stop, so Darwin will have to get his chance another day.

Posted by: Marimom | November 18, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Walking and talking on a cell phone is a wonderful health checkup.

I have a relative who often calls me from his cell phone. If he gets out of breath, I know he's walking, and I nag him about losing weight.

Jim Purdy

Posted by: jimpurdy | November 18, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

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