NEWS

Follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health policy and obesity

Humor Banned to Fight COVID-19 Misinformation

April 1, 2020 — Budding pranksters, you’re on notice. Humor is verboten today. The world is on lockdown, fighting a global pandemic. Late night comedies are off the air. Nothing is funny. You, over there, wipe that smirk off your face. In Thailand, an April Fool’s joke could get you five years in jail. “Don’t lie,” wrote The Nation […]

Obesity Treatment for Teens: Liraglutide Coming Soon?

March 31, 2020 — While the world has been busy with COVID-19, quite a lot has been happening in obesity. Last week, JAMA Pediatrics published an important review of all the evidence-based options for treating obesity in adolescents. The bottom line? Those options are too few, but more are coming. Today, we got a good look at one of […]

Will PTSD Be a Legacy of COVID-19?

March 31, 2020 — The obvious legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic will be millions of lost lives around the world. In the U.S., we’re now hearing that “only” 100,000 lives lost will amount to a big success. But beyond the acute trauma of lives lost, we must consider the possibility of post traumatic stress for all of us dealing […]

A Damned Lie: COVID-19 Impact Is Like the Flu

March 30, 2020 — This one falls into the category of a damned lie. We occasionally hear from people that COVID-19 doesn’t seem so bad if you consider that the seasonal flu kills tens of thousands of people every year. This lie is also a go-to strategy for politicians who want to deny the seriousness of the problem we […]

American Youth: Eating Better, Growing Fatter

March 28, 2020 — Being certain sometimes means being certainly wrong. For decades now, we’ve assumed that childhood obesity is a problem that stems unhealthy eating. “One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the eating and exercise habits of your entire family,” says the Mayo Clinic. But a new study in JAMA tells us […]

Truth, Power, and Misinformation in a Health Crisis

March 27, 2020 — Knowledge is power, said Sir Francis Bacon in the 16th century. But today, that aphorism has morphed. Now it seems that misinformation is quite powerful. Governments and politicians have learned that they can censor information simply by overwhelming truth with noise. However, misinformation in a health crisis can be deadly. Truth and public trust are […]

Bright Red Lines: Fact, Speculation, and Misinformation

March 27, 2020 — There’s nothing like the high stakes of a pandemic to remind us of danger from blurring the bright red lines separating fact, speculation, and misinformation. This is because an emerging pandemic presents us with ambiguity. But our human nature detests ambiguity. We crave certainty. Without facts to lean upon, we speculate about what might be […]

A Shift from Toilet Paper to Plants and Seeds

March 26, 2020 — Perhaps we’re moving on from hoarding toilet paper in response to the coronavirus pandemic. We see nothing wrong with cleanliness. But new purchase trends point to a more nostalgic focus. In addition, it might be more nourishing. Plants and seeds for vegetable gardens are becoming hot items now. Maybe all this talk about the depression […]

Rising Conflict: Reason and Emotion in Health Policy

March 25, 2020 — We’re witnessing some intense interchanges on health policy right now. Reason and emotion are in vivid conflict. Jolting comments collide with disturbing facts. The new coronavirus “will disappear like a miracle,” says one policymaker. In addition, we hear promises of “packed churches all over our country” in just a couple of weeks. But then, a […]

Not Me! What’s the Point of Knowing Our Risks?

March 24, 2020 — Risk is an abstraction. It’s invisible. So people have a tough time wrapping their heads around questions of risk. How immediate is the risk? Is it big? Does it affect me? Am I putting others in danger? These are just a few of the questions that shape how we think about knowing our risks. As […]