lose weight while you sleep on the amazing bigfoot diet
Minnversity colleague Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview offers a clear-eyed appraisal of health features on morning news programs. Key findings:
The morning health news segments on ABC, CBS and NBC do the following regularly:
•Unquestioningly promote new drugs and new technologies
•Feed the “worried well” by raising unrealistic expectations of unproven technologies that may produce more harm than good
•Fail to ask tough questions
•Make any discussion of health care reform that much more difficult
here are a few concrete examples from features on obesity and weight loss:
ABC’s Good Morning America
Breakthrough obesity drug, July 21, 2009, Rating: (2 stars out of a possible 5)
Miscasts an experimental obesity Rx as potential "silver bullet" for people wanting to drop a few pounds. Oddly refers to interviewee's potential conflicts of interest as evidence of expertise. Huh?...
Super shot? Can it cut weight by 25%?, July 14, 2009, Rating: (2 stars out of a possible 5)
Woefully inadequate reporting on animal research on a weight loss drug. Makes the unfounded leap that this is a "promising new drug that could ultimately impact how to control obesity and diabetes."
Cutting the fat--without incisions: New weight-loss surgery, June 3, 2009, Rating: (2 stars out of a possible 5)
Breathless enthusiasm - not backed by facts about new incision-free approach to weight loss surgery. Story calls it "remarkable" and "exciting" but that results aren't as good as gastric bypass....
Blasting Inches Off Without Surgery: New Technique to Lose The Fat, January 5, 2009, Rating: (2 stars out of a possible 5)
This story medicalizes a normal state of health - a few additional pounds or inches. The story lacked evidence and data from the alleged 50,000 who've had it - an astoundingly poor use of air time....
CBS Early Show
The Real Skinny: Liposlim During Lunch?, February 16, 2009, Rating: (0 stars out of possible 5)
What the anchorman calls a "healthy, gorgeous" young woman gets lunchtime lipo with no discussion of evidence or whether insurance covers it. If your premiums went up because she was in your insurance pool, would you be happy?...
NBC Today show
Lose weight while you sleep? February 9, 2009, Rating: (0 stars out of possible 5)
NBC gave 5.5 minutes of free publicity to Glamour magazine's pseudo-scientific experiment, then made bold, baseless projections that women would "probably add about 7 years to their life". Amazing....