At times of shifting opinions about health, how do you decide whose advice to follow?

Recent medical studies have cast doubt on long-held ideas about health – namely that salt causes hypertension and that lots of exercise is good for us. Today’s Question: At times of shifting opinions about health, how do you decide whose advice to follow?

  • Duane

    Certainly not the Mayor of New York or a group of Congressmen sitting on a committee in Washington administrating the Affordable Health Care Act. I have had excellent direction from my primary doctor, as new information is accepted as proven, it is brought forth and I will follow it. I put little faith in PR releases put out by the media. I believe that is the primary cause for the confusion.

  • Mark in Freeborn

    I switch on Fox News, then do the exact opposite of whatever their talking heads tell me to do.

  • Josh


    That won’t happen if I can fit into the voting booth.. ;^)

  • John p.

    I ignore the news reports of the latest sensational study that shows something “might” be true. I have found that my family physician has a good handle on what is well founded vs. what some obscure and untested study hints at.

  • Ann

    I found that teen magazine articles on dieting contributed to eating disorders when I was a teen. Kerri Miller’s interview with people who want to make us feel guilty for sitting brought back bad memories.Channel 9 hyped a report for an hour. Then they showed a microbiologist lambasting coffee for making us “fat as pigs” unless we added milk and sugar. A national report showed a child who didn’t have a perfectly thin waist in a report on child obesity. Are we becoming a nation of boring people who are obsessed with weight and exercise?The media is certainly unhelpful when it is full of this type of reporting. I try to ignore some of it.

  • Jim G

    Thankfully we don’t bleed out the bad humors as George Washington’s doctors did anymore. But our current medical knowledge is still incomplete and constantly changing. It is not religion, but science, so we must use our own reason and experience to inform our choices living a healthy life.

    Some of my choices:

    When I couldn’t breathe, I stopped smoking.

    When I gained weight, I went to a dietitian, and changed my eating habits.

    When my knees were wobbly, I started riding my bicycle longer distances to strength them.

    When my mother developed heart disease, I went on statins, aspirin, and blood pressure medication.

    As I age, I try to be aware of my physical body and its changes.

    I read a lot and find information can be contradictory. So I ask a lot of questions of my primary care doctor. Then I make the decisions that affect my health and life, either for good or bad.

  • Gary F

    I just ignore them. Another reason why I turn off the TV or radio.

    Just like Bloomberg in NY. He is really an idiot. First, he doesn’t think we need to have soft drinks larger than 16 ounces and then the next week he wants to lighten up on pot smokers.

    So, drinking pop is bad for you but inhaling smoke into your lungs then getting lazy and getting the munchies from smoking pot is good for you? Idiots.

    He’s mean. He’s telling all the stoners with the munchies that you can’t get that large Mountain Dew?

  • Steve the Cynic

    I’d like someone to do a study to determine when the stress caused by worrying about whether you’re doing everything right, health-wise, causes harm that outweighs the benefits of doing everything right. After all, optimal health is merely the slowest possible rate of dying.

  • Paul

    I believe the AMA and not the people who make a living stirring the pot.

  • Lance

    I eat what I like to eat.

    Salt is bad; salt is good.

    Eggs are bad; eggs are good.

    Butter is bad; butter is good.

    Alcohol is bad; alcohol is good.

    Chocolate is bad; chocolate is good.


    When I feel bad the rest of the day after eating at McDonalds, I stop eating at McDonalds. When I get heartburn and gain weight from drinking too much pop – well, I’m working on that one, but I don’t need my mayor’s help.

    Everything in moderation, including excess…

  • JasonB

    I listen to my body, and I don’t make excuses for any unhealthy behaviors I might have.

    I don’t know the details of the exercise study, but I’m going to take a guess that it refers to ‘overdoing it’ or overworking a damaged or stressed body. Exercise is controlled and measured stress, and the body responds by becoming stronger and more resilient. It only works if a body is not already injured beyond that point of healthy healing.

    Unfortunately this study will probably just provide further impetus for those resistant to exercise or taking care of themselves in general.

  • David Rogde

    If you’re lucky enough to have health insurance, see your doctor for a check up once a year, and if anything wrong is found, follow the medical advice.

    If you don’t have insurance, and some 30 to 49 million Americans don’t—God help you.

  • suestuben

    After more than 20 years of chronic conditions, I have learned that my health is up to me, not to my docs or the AMA. I research everything before I allow its use on me; I ask lots of questions of my docs and take their advice w/ a grain of salt. There is western medicine and eastern medicine and everything in between; find a solution that feels right to you and then find support for that idea on line. I am pretty sure that eating well is a huge benefit for your body, and that eating too much is a huge drag on your body. Enjoyable exercise is good for you but listen to your body when it says ‘enough.’ Being happy and laughing often is great. Friends and family are wonderful; nurture them. Pain is a major drag and can detract from every aspect of your life, so don’t wait to get it under control. Study various religions or philosophies re life and death, and find something that brings you peace and comfort. We’re all going to die, so do your best to control the time and place.

  • Josie

    I think about how it would have been like to live off the land, hunting and gathering as our ancestors did for thousands of years before the advent of agriculture and cities. Those were the formative years of homo sapiens as a species, and I try to think about how much exercise/energy that would have taken, and about what kinds of unprocessed foods they would have eaten (meat, fruits, nuts, veggies). Keeping this in mind, I try to live like that and take all fad diets, new medical research, and everything scientists come up with, with a grain of salt.

  • Diane

    Was it just about abortion or about a first step toward energizing opposition to a conservative political system in Texas that stays in power because of gerrymandering and lack of political evolvement of the Hispanic part of the population. With all the interest in the physical aspects of her filibuster, the media might encourage a discussion on whether in the US senate the requirement of in person filibuster might alleviate the 2/3 requirement, we now have.

  • Val

    Many opponents of abortion are not heralds for human rights. If that was the case they would be also opposed to the death penalty and in favor of increasing social services.