Healthy Headlines: What’s The News That’s Fit to Print?

By Cindy Bishop on 10/25/2013
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health studies headlinesI’m not sure if the trend is really all that new… news organizations feeling they have to entertain to be newsy, but is it necessary to smack us over the head with shocking (and schlocky) proclamations just to get our attention? Especially when it comes to health-related studies and findings?

There must be quantifiable data which supports the idea that consumers are more than willing to take the media fish bait and gobble it up like caviar, or they wouldn’t continue to do it.

I’ll admit that a headline like, “Coffee Consumption Reduces Kidney Cancer by 45%” can turn your head. After all, I’m a regular at Starbucks, so works for me! But, would that information entice me to make an extra pot of coffee in the morning because I have an unfounded fear of developing kidney cancer? And what is it about coffee that might affect my kidneys? Who knows, right?

Just this week I’ve read (and we wrote about) how eating too many Oreos is akin to consuming crack, that lowering your blood sugar is good for the brain and that this year’s flu shot could stop a heart attack. What does it all mean? What’s what and who says so?

Straight from the desk of Alan Wayler, Executive Director at Green Mountain, (a PhD from MIT), here are some questions to consider before you dip that fish bait onto your favorite cracker.

  • The study been published in a legit medical or scientific journal, otherwise called peer review.
  • Was this is a long-term study? e.g., weight management studies require evidence after five years out.
  • Have the results been replicated in another study?
  • Did the study test enough subjects? The greater the number of subjects, the stronger the conclusions.
  • Did the study merely share an observation or did it explicitly make a recommendation? (Study results would be considered unethical if a recommendation was made).
  • Do the investigators have a vested interest in the product or service they were testing or have a consultancy with the product/service they were testing… was it disclosed?

So before you go off on another health tangent because of something you read on Google, do your best to get the facts straight. Have you got a story about the media? Please share it!

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