PureInsight | March 24, 2003
Around October 1999, a few practitioners had an idea of collecting health survey data in North America. The idea stems from the large health surveys conducted in China prior to July 1999. The original motivation was to collect the data, and then publish the results in academic journals to validate Dafa from a scientific perspective.
The first problem encountered was how to design the survey questionnaire. The questionnaire used in the health survey in Beijing contained only a few questions and it seemed too simple for the population of practitioners in North America. We decided to include in the questionnaire a question on the respondent's education attainment, as we know many practitioners in North America have advanced degrees. Questions on cigarette smoking were also included as an attempt to estimate the percentage of smokers who quit smoking after practicing Falun Dafa. For the general health improvement, we adopted some questions in the sample adult section of the 1997 "National Health Interview Survey'' from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.
In November 1999, after the questionnaire was prepared, we emailed a copy to the volunteer contact persons around the U.S. and Canada. Then the volunteers could forward them to their local practitioners, either electronically or in paper form. We received 235 responses by April 2000, with 202 from American practitioners, 32 from Canadian practitioners, and 1 who did not respond to the country he/she was from. Though the academic response was not very supportive due to different opinions, the data was sufficient to see the health improvement on practitioners before and after practice. The data was entered into EXCEL, and we used SAS and S-PLUS statistical software to analyze the data.
The demographic data reflected that many practitioners in North America are relatively young and well educated. The health improvement based on self-evaluated health status before and after practice was very strong. Based on the positive survey results, around February of 2001 we wrote a paper and submitted it to an academic public health journal. The review sent back it to us around July of 2001 with somewhat negative comments. One of the critiques was that the response rate was not given, i.e. out of how many survey questionnaires did we receive 235 responses. This was considered a major drawback of the paper and the results. Due to various reasons, we did not attempt to revise the paper and submit it again. The paper was left in the drawer for quite a while. With encouragement from some practitioners, we wrote this report to share the results with fellow practitioners and to summarize the learning experience that we have had.
With the writing of this summary report, we hope that whoever could help us estimate the response rate will contact us. It will be very helpful for us if you could provide the number of surveys that you distributed. We now turn to the results that we found from the data.
II. The Data
A. Demographic data:
A.1. State/Province. The numbers of survey responses from each state are given as follows:
There were 21 people who did not provide information on the state/province they lived. This table is used to see where the data were from.
A.2. Gender. 137 (58.3%) of the respondents are female, 98 (41.7%) male.
A.3. Race. 226 (97.00%) are Asians, and 7 (3.00%) are Caucasians based on 233 responses.
A.4. Age. The average is 38.9 years old (standard deviation 13.6, range 4-78 years old), based on 230 responses.
A.5. Length of practice (starting time to December 1999) . The average is 26.4 months (standard deviation 14.2, range 1-64 months), based on 229 responses.
A.6. Educational attainment. Based on 233 responses, we considered only the highest degree for the subpopulation with age 18 years or older (224 people), given in Figure 4.
A.7. Type of jobs. The job type for the 137 people who were working at the time when filling out the survey:
B. Health Data
B.1. Height and Weight. For people with age greater or equal to 18 years old (230 respondents), average height for male is 172 centimeter (standard deviation 8.2cm); for female 159.2 cm (standard deviation 5.5cm). The average weight for male is 67.9 Kilogram (standard deviation 11.4kg); for female 56.6 kg (standard deviation 10.9 kg).
B.2. Cigarette Smoking and Alcohol Consumption. The survey also contained questions on cigarette smoking, as it is well known that smoking is harmful for health. There were 18 respondents with smoking habits before practicing Falun Dafa and 100% of them quit smoking after practice. Except for one missing value among the 18, the average number of days taken to quit smoking is 4.58 days, median 1 day, and sample S.D. 9.72 days. For alcohol drinking habits, 103 answered yes before practicing Falun Dafa and among them 100 (97.09%) quit drinking after practice, two have up to 3 drinks per week, and one gives a missing value.
B.3. Self-evaluated health status before and after practice. The respondents were asked to classify his/her health status as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor, for both before practicing Falun Dafa and when filling out the survey (after practicing Falun Dafa). The choice of health status is taken from the sample adult section of the 1997 ``National Health Interview Survey'' (NHIS) from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.
There were 230 people with complete data on their health status before practice:
There were 226 respondents who completed surveys on their health status after taking up the practice:
A dramatic change in improved health status after practice is clear from the charts above and the 2-way contingency table given below on the health status before and after practice, based on 224 completed observations.
B.4. Disease status before and after practice for diseases diagnosed by physicians or other health professionals) . The respondents were asked to identify the diseases they had before taking up the practice that had been diagnosed by physicians or other health professionals, and then marked their conditions at the time when they filled out the survey. Table 3 below gives the results. Remarkably, the Table supports the findings from the Beijing survey. Even some serious diseases, such as cancer and heart diseases, were improved significantly after practice. So were some chronic diseases like diabetes, hepatitis, and allergies.
B.5. Physical conditions before and after practice, not necessarily diagnosed by health professionals. For physical conditions not necessarily diagnosed by doctors, Table 4 summarizes the results. Again the improvements are quite noticeable.
This article reported health survey results of 235 Falun Dafa practitioners in North America. It shows that Falun Dafa benefits health tremendously. Some practitioners have their chronic diseases cured or significantly improved, and cigarette smokers quit smoking after practice. Further statistical logistic modeling (not shown here) gives supportive evidence that in most cases the probability of transition to a better health status increases as the length of practicing Falun Gong increases. We think that it is beneficial for the general audience to understand the effect of practicing Falun Gong from a scientific point of view. Please let us know if you have any comments.