Posts Tagged ‘bias’

The Moral Hazard of Demonizing the Food Industry

September 5, 2021 — The global food industry is huge – so big that people have a hard time putting firm numbers on it. But roughly, it’s worth about ten trillion dollars. It’s also very diverse. The top ten multinational food and beverage companies add up to only half a trillion dollars of those sales. Nonetheless in public health […]

Tortured Logic About Obesity Prevention

August 31, 2021 — Can an ineffective program to prevent obesity be cost effective? Our first impulse is to say no. But a new paper in Obesity Science and Practice says yes. Mariette Derwig and colleagues tested a child-centered approach in Sweden. They found no effect in their well-designed study. However, this inconvenient result did not get in the […]

Blurring the Line Between Righteousness and Health

August 22, 2021 — Make no mistake about it, public health is a righteous cause. Overwhelmingly, people choose careers in public health because they believe in the mission and they want to make a difference in the world. But righteous causes can bring a loss of objectivity. It happens because strong, human feelings come into play. When we hear […]

A New Study of Facts and Feelings in Bariatric Surgery

July 27, 2021 — The gap between facts and feelings about bariatric surgery never ceases to amaze. In 2016, we were presenting at a CDC conference in Atlanta, when a prominent family physician interrupted. He wanted to tell us that surgery usually leads to patients regaining all their weight. Or too often, he said, death. We responded by asking […]

Enduring Arguments About “Medicalizing” Obesity

July 26, 2021 — It’s been eight years since the American Medical Association resolved that obesity is a complex, chronic disease. But still, the argument endures. For different reasons, some people continue to resist what they see as medicalizing obesity. So with the closing session of the YWM2021 convention, it was quite interesting to hear a discussion from two […]

Academic Bullying Doesn’t Belong in Public Health

July 17, 2021 — Back in 2005, new obesity research from CDC produced an unexpected finding. JAMA, a first-rate journal, carefully peer-reviewed and published it. But Harvard’s Walter Willett didn’t like what the data showed. So he mounted an offensive to discredit the researcher and her work. We would call this academic bullying. He called it necessary because his […]

We’re Not Really Ready to Talk About Obesity

July 3, 2021 — When the words are a challenge, then dealing with a health issue is a challenge. Ask anyone working in mental health or addiction medicine. There was a time when people could not even talk about breast cancer. Betty Ford brought these subjects into public discourse. But obesity remains something that people are not really ready […]

A Medieval Concept for Weight Loss

June 30, 2021 — “After 24 hours, the participants indicated that they occasionally felt embarrassed, self-conscious, and that life, in general, was less satisfying.” Nonetheless, researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand think they have an “attractive alternative” for weight loss. It’s a dental device with magnets. It attaches to a person’s teeth to prevent them from […]

An Inconvenient Finding? “We Have to Stomp It Out”

June 21, 2021 — Are people with overweight, but not obesity, more or less likely to die early than people with a lower BMI? When researchers at CDC and NCI published an answer to this question in 2005, it created quite a stir. The surprising finding was that folks in the range of overweight were not more likely to […]

Regulating Soda, Crack, and Menthol Cigarettes

May 7, 2021 — Late last week, the FDA announced that it intends to ban menthol cigarettes. This is in part because these are the cigarettes that Black smokers prefer. Smoking takes a bigger toll on Blacks than Whites, so maybe this will help reduce a source of health disparities. Indeed it sounds like a good idea. Except that […]