Deadly Choices: Coping with Health Risks in Everyday Life


With chapters on HIV, exercise, weight control, nutrition, smoking and cancer, this book explains how to cope with the flood of "how-to" books and articles in order to make rational health decisions.
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With chapters on HIV, exercise, weight control, nutrition, smoking and cancer, this book explains how to cope with the flood of "how-to" books and articles in order to make rational health decisions.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``With each new medical `discovery,' the consuming public grows increasingly hard-nosed and wary. My own patients,'' writes physician Harris, who is also a professor of economics at M.I.T., ``have grown so skeptical that they reject the latest health pronouncements out of hand. They see the media, the scientific establishment, and the government as creating a standard of perfection that no one can adhere to.'' His suggestion? They should hone their critical skills, for the problem won't vanish anytime soon: the experts will continue handing out pronouncements, and the consumer will continue to receive and judge them. This book is meant to put some of those pronouncements in perspective, and to encourage readers to to take an active role in assessing them. Harris wisely picks and chooses his health concerns, which include AIDS, cancer, cholesterol and exercise; frames discussions as composite stories, with plot and dialogue, not just as abstract arguments; and peppers his prose with questions, paradoxes and tartly noted frustrations. In other words, he's a realist who wants to be of use but who has no intention of offering quick solutions. This itself can cause some problems, as an issue is thrashed out, sometimes, to the point of exhaustion as much as conclusion. But generally, Harris is an expert mediator, bringing us into confrontation not only with the claims of experts, but also with our own mixed feelings about health and health dogmas. Oct.
Library Journal
To the lay reader, the published results of medical research often seem confusing, contradictory, even overwhelming. Consider only the evidence presented about cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Harris Harvard, MIT sets out ``to decode the messages from the scientific establishment, the media, and the public health officials'' on medical research. He presents composite stories drawn from real case histories and examines the consequences of choices made with respect to sex and HIV, exercise, weight control, cholesterol, tobacco, and breast cancer. The analyses tend to become involved. Just as we think we've grasped the issues, we read ``but this is just the beginning of the story.'' The bibliography is impressive, but the text needs editing; it rambles without explaining contradictory research data. For larger public and academic medical collections.-- James Swanton, Albert Einstein Coll. of Medicine, New York
A doctor sorts through conflicting and confusing research to help people devise a strategy for their health decisions. He's chatty and anecdotal, offering lots of examples and dramatizations, but his points are not always clear. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465015603
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.03 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Margarine Battle Book: Introduction 1
2 The Deadliest Choice: Sex and HIV 16
3 Spring Training: Exercise 52
4 Body Mass Index: Weight Control 83
5 The Good Minus the Bad: Cholesterol 119
6 Smoking and Nothingness: Cigarettes 151
7 Lump: Breast Cancer 178
Epilogue 205
Notes 207
Index 265
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