Reading on the loo

Filthy habit or blameless bliss? A public health study by Ron Shaoul lifts the lid on toilet reading once and for all

Ian Sample

From the moment Ron Shaoul took it upon himself to investigate the practice of reading on the toilet, scouring medical literature and turning up nothing of note as to its public health consequences, the situation became clear that here, on his hands, was a big job.

Shaoul’s curiosity was driven by his work as a doctor specialising in paediatric gastroenterology. He mustered some colleagues, drew up a questionnaire and had hundreds of people of all shapes and sizes complete it. What resulted was perhaps the most scientific attempt yet to shine light on a habit that rustles unseen behind closed doors.

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