Responsibility in the Health & Fitness Industry

November 7, 2016

I think most people know not to believe everything they read or see on the Internet. But what happens when the person saying something holds a trusted title, like Doctor? What about vaguely described organizations with neat acronyms, like ASMBS? Sounds official, right?

The following press release titled Obesity ties cancer as top health threat, new survey shows is the latest in what I call fearmongering, sellout, pseudo-science. Read the press release and tell me they don't have an agenda. The University of Chicago and the ASMBS surveyed some people and are presenting their opinions. Hey, no problem there, people can have opinions.

I take issue with the cleverly worded way of describing these opinions as if they were facts. I take issue with a position encouraging bariatric surgery coming from an organization comprised of bariatric surgeons - ummm, conflict of interest much? I take issue with the survey group of 1,509 adults being generalized to the entire U.S. population!

These types of "findings" are designed to strike fear into the hearts of anyone reading them. What's worse, it actually works. People see the medical acronyms and the MD following the interviewee's name, they believe what these people are telling them. And why shouldn't they? I don't blame those who read this and say, "Wow, obesity is killing us." The people telling these stories are supposed to be some of the most trusted in our society.

These sorts of stories need to be blocked or at a minimum have a huge disclaimer saying that the information presented is not actual science and should not be taken as such. Let this serve as a challenge to us consumers of information, next time we hear a story on the news, read an article, or are at the watercooler chatting, think about the information that's shared, critically and with an objective lens. Realize that there are varying levels of "truth" and some people are very crafty with their presentation of information, crafty enough to change your behaviors and beliefs.

Next time I'll post on the brighter side of the media and society's influence on our health, but I just had to vent about this.

In good health,

Francesco

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