From the Slate article:
Bruce Arroll, a doctor and professor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand (apparently this is a global problem) gathered up 87 new and old magazines (a number determined by "how many magazines the investigators could rustle up from family and friends") covering a variety of topics and placed them in the waiting room of his practice.
It turns out that if there are current magazines around, people steal them.
Jerks.Here's the original British Medical Journal article: "An exploration of the basis for patient complaints about the oldness of magazines in practice waiting rooms: cohort study" (12/11/2014).
From the BMJ article:
"Figure 1. Survival probability for gossipy and non-gossipy magazines in waiting room"
Personal case example: When I went to take my father to a doctor's appointment in Los Angeles earlier this year, they had this 1987 (!) magazine in the waiting room.
I'm pretty sure this falls in the BMJ "non-gossipy" category.