Proverb: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Context: The interviewee, M, is 18 years old and they were born and raised in what is commonly known as the Bay Area in San Francisco, California. M had brought up this common proverb that they heard growing up while we were discussing minor folklore genres because both their parents are doctors in internal medicine, and they joked that they would eat an apple every time they wanted their parents to stop bothering them.

Analysis: The proverb originated in the 1860s in Wales, but it was in a different format: “Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” It wasn’t until 1913 that it became the proverb we know today (Davis, 2015). This was because they were advocating for children to eat more apples and healthy foods in general so that they will be in good health and not need to go to the hospital as often. I was also familiar with this saying growing up. I had some health issues when I was younger, and I frequently visited the hospital/emergency room growing up. I had a lot of allergies, one of them being dust, and I used to have asthma as well, so together, they were not a great combination. I was not a big fan of hospitals and doctors, so I would eat apples all the time to try and prevent myself from getting sick or having an allergic reaction and having to go back to the hospital. 

Davis, M. A., Bynum, P. W., & Sirovich, B. E. (2015). Association Between Apple Consumption and Physician Visits: Appealing the Conventional Wisdom That an Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away. JAMA internal medicine, 175(5), 777.