Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Public's Health

I have been following Sandy Szwarc's blog, Junkfood Science lately.

In a nutshell, Szwarc critically reviews recent medical and public health research and legislation, and media coverage of health, with a particular emphasis on anything relating to food, nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. As near as I can tell, she is pretty critical of any study or policies attempting to prevent, treat, or quantify the impact of fatness, or any health conditions relating to being fat. Sometimes she's critical in ways I agree with (for example, I think she's right when she repeatedly claims that a lot of public health policies are unsupported by solid evidence). Sometimes I disagree (for example, when she claims there is no credible evidence linking food intake to incidence of type II diabetes.)

She has a major axe to grind about "lifestyle medicine." I do too, actually. Just for very different reasons. Overall, I find her underlying theories (unspoken but obvious) to be too reactionary and well, atomistic. My philosophy about health centers on the social-ecological foundation of health, social determinants of health, and constrained choice...in a nutshell. And it drives me *NUTZ* to read Szwarc's reactionary rants that 1) claims the medical, media, and political industries are fabricating evidence; 2) all health outcomes are the direct result of genetics; 3) hails the randomized controlled trial as the final word regarding scientific evidence; and 4)fancies itself to be the end-all-be-all of renegade smoking-gun/myth-busting truth-busting information on health.

If I was motivated, which I am not, I think it would be a fun challenge to provide another perspective on her posts. Instead, I think I'll just rant about it in a non-productive way and leave you all with this!

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Blogger Raw Yoga Babe said...

i see you follow steph klein, too.

do you still have her fat camp memoir?? i do love her style, would love to read it when visiting your abode shortly.

on reactionaries: there is a great place for academics who can bring science to the people using the common language--i see you in this group. saw dr sandra steingraber today on campus--talk on cancer as a human rights issue, she has her doctorate in biology, and with excellent scientific communication skills, can converse with diverse audiences.

IMAGINE what the cornbelt people, who do not believe in reproductive rights, would do if they fully realized--or if one day it is proven--the mass amounts of chemicals on food and farmland, can trigger or cause spontaneous abortions??

this is similar to a few years ago when the Bush admin was still in full denial re climate change, certain faiths proclaimed the reality of the big CC--in direct contrast to their party--because of belief in wo/man being the caretaker of this earth.

interesting times r we in.

1:55 AM  

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