In World War 1, they found head injuries increased after handing out helmets. This was a selection bias issue; before helmets, soldiers hit in the head would die and not be counted. I would think a similar situation is going on with murder rates. It seems likely to me, given how unhealthy many Americans are, that some percentage of murder victims would have survived if they had been more fit. Meaning another community with an equal amount of violence but healthier citizens would see more assaults and fewer murders. Are there any studies that look at this kind of thing?

  • This isn't a politics question. I don't know which SE is appropriate for public health study design so I can't suggest a better place for it.
    – Joe
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 22:26
  • @Joe Medical Sciences, maybe? Commented May 27, 2021 at 3:50
  • @Joe it's not a public health question really, it's a crime question. I want to know how sure we are that we have a high murder rate, and not just an overly vulnerable populace. Maybe we could reduce our murder rate by improving our health?
    – Ryan_L
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 5:37
  • actually, on average obese people fare slightly better from getting shot and quite a bit from being stabbed, which are the most common murder methods.
    – dandavis
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 7:56

1 Answer 1


Many murder victims are young, younger than 35, so you would not see much effect yet from long term ill health. In fact, I wonder if you wouldn't see the opposite effect if you examined the component to young-men-on-young-men violence, like gang violence. Likely the participants could be found to be of above-average fitness.

  • 2
    if you have an appetite for them, there are many weird studies re. homicide rates. Commented May 26, 2021 at 17:01
  • Maybe the study should be murder rate by victim BMI and age? There are many obese young people as well.
    – Ryan_L
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 17:48
  • @Ryan_L Pretty sure being obese doesn't have a statistically significant effect on whether or not you bleed out from a gunshot wound.
    – Joe
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 22:22
  • 1
    @Ryan_L Not sure about that Impact of Obesity on Mortality in Adult Trauma Patients : Conclusion Our study found no statistically significant differences in mortality among the three BMI groups in regard to mortality, even when stratified by ISS, or mechanism of injury, and traumatic velocities. found by googling "obesity trauma mortality" Commented May 26, 2021 at 23:28
  • 1
    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica I found this by duckduckgo'ing "obesity trauma mortality" pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26996285 "Conclusions: Motorists with morbid obesity are at greater risk of MVC. Regardless of safety device use, occupants with morbid obesity remained at greater risk of death. " Here's another: rand.org/pubs/external_publications/EP68473.html "Severely obese trauma patients were at least 30% more likely to die and approximately twice as likely to have a major complication compared with nonobese patients."
    – Ryan_L
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 23:34

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