Posts Tagged ‘health reporting’

Speculating About COVID-19 and Childhood Obesity

June 8, 2020 — The headlines are pretty direct about it. “COVID-19 lockdowns make childhood obesity worse,” says a headline from the University of Buffalo. Another report tells us that school closures will drive childhood obesity rates up by 2.4 percentage points. All this sounds very precise and matter of fact. But what it really amounts to is speculation. […]

Coronahype: Activity Trackers to Spot the Virus Early

May 29, 2020 — Hope and fear. These are powerful, related motivators readily available during the coronavirus pandemic. The motivations are not always clear, but many people are shoveling out claims about “game changers” for dealing with the virus that haunts us. Some of these supposed game changers turn out to be disastrous duds. So caution about coronahype is […]

Model Assumptions for Driving Health Policy

April 22, 2020 — “I was never involved in a model. At least this kind of a model,” said our President at a recent press briefing. But now it seems that all of us are getting a crash course in modeling and model assumptions for making health policy. Perhaps we will learn to think more critically about the output […]

A Pandemic of Crackpot Science

April 17, 2020 — Scared, bored, and isolated. In the midst of a pandemic, we have the perfect breeding ground for crackpot science. Over the Easter weekend, a rash of fires in the UK scorched almost two dozen cellphone towers. In all, about 50 towers in the UK have burned because of a crackpot theory that 5G communications boost […]

Seriously? COVID-19 Weight Loss Tips? Can’t Be Real

April 5, 2020 — Cease and desist. That’s our reaction to a rise of inane headlines about how to lose weight in the midst of a public health crisis. Smelling the potential for great clickbait, one reporter reached out to an expert in obesity, asking: Do we have a fatdemic coming our way? The DietDoctor offers up Six Tips […]

Chow Down to Boost Your Immune System?

April 4, 2020 — Lies are convenient when the truth is unpleasant. Right now, we’re faced with a number of unpleasant truths, so lies are popping up like springtime flowers. The virus that’s plaguing us will “miraculously” disappear, says a politician. “Stock up on these nine healthy foods to boost your immune system,” says CNBC. Unfortunately, both of those […]

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 […]

A Conversation with Melissa Joy Dobbins

March 9, 2020 — Writing and reaching and talking with so many people as we do, we have the privilege to meet some really talented individuals. We recently met up with one such person, Melissa Joy Dobbins, in Budapest, of all places. Dobbins is a talented dietitian who has created one of the most successful podcasts about nutrition and […]

Study Versus Headlines at Breakfast

February 21, 2020 — Most often, when the media mangles science, the blame goes to the health reporter. Reporters either misinterpret the research or don’t think critically about how PR is spinning the results. But this week, we have an exceptional case of a top-tier journal publishing conclusions to a study that the data simply do not support. The […]

Classified as Obese, Locked into a Label

January 19, 2020 — It is a telling choice of words. More than half of black women over age 20 are categorized as obese, wrote Joseph Williams. Half of America will be considered obese within this decade, says Alyssa Bethencourt. Oliver Williams writes that 18.9 per cent of children in Year 6 are classified as overweight or obese. These […]