The Healthy Skeptic: Cutting through the Hype about Your Health by Robert Davis, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Healthy Skeptic: Cutting through the Hype about Your Health

The Healthy Skeptic: Cutting through the Hype about Your Health

by Robert Davis
     
 

It happens every day: we pick up a newspaper or magazine or turn on the television and are bombarded with urgent advice about how to stay healthy. Lose weight! Lower your cholesterol! Early detection saves lives! Sunscreen prevents cancer! But in many cases, pronouncements we rarely think to question turn out to be half-truths that are being pushed by various

Overview


It happens every day: we pick up a newspaper or magazine or turn on the television and are bombarded with urgent advice about how to stay healthy. Lose weight! Lower your cholesterol! Early detection saves lives! Sunscreen prevents cancer! But in many cases, pronouncements we rarely think to question turn out to be half-truths that are being pushed by various individuals or groups to advance their own agendas. The Healthy Skeptic explores who these health promoters are—from journalists and celebrities to industry-funded groups and consumer activists—what their motives are, and how they are spinning us in ways we often don't realize.

This treasure trove of little-known facts, written by a seasoned health reporter, provides invaluable tips, tools, and resources to help readers think more critically about what they're being told. Becoming a healthy skeptic is vital, Davis argues, because following the right advice can have a profound impact on overall health and longevity.

IN TEN ENTERTAINING CHAPTERS, ROBERT J. DAVIS DISCUSSES:

* Diets and why they don't work

* Dietary supplements

* The campaign to reduce cholesterol

* Celebrity exhortations to "get tested"

* Sunscreen and its promoters' claims

* The antichemical activists

Editorial Reviews

Booklist

“Simplifies the process of divining what is true science out of the hype. . . . Belongs where everyone can access it.”
January Magazine

“Cuts the myth from the reality. More importantly, he helps us sort through the information available.”
Choice

“”Useful to all consumers who seek reliable sources of health information.”
Publishers Weekly
A medical journalist with a Ph.D in health policy, Davis's first book provides a helpful look at the dangers of taking health advice at face value. When confronted with a claim that "studies prove," Davis advises considering eight questions, among them "What kind of study is it?" "Could the findings be a fluke?" "Who paid for the research?" and "Was it peer reviewed?" Looking at pharm ads, government campaigns, consumer advocates and other sources of (mis)information, Davis provides readers with a wary eye for even "official" pronouncements. For instance, Davis recounts how, in 1985, a division of the National Institute of Health hired a PR firm to design a campaign on the dangers of high cholesterol, and assumed that the drop in cholesterol levels and heart disease-related deaths over the next decades were directly related; that correlation led doctors to triple the number of patients taking statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs). What they've ignored, at the peril of many, is that smoking rates decreased and treatments for heart disease improved during that period; further troubling is the fact that eight out the nine experts on a recent study were being paid by statin manufacturers. An insightful and informative look at a number of health issues, this should be enlightening, if a bit frightening, reading for those seeking to take charge of their health.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

It seems almost every day there is new health-and-diet advice to follow. We can live longer if only we drink green tea, eat dark chocolate, take hormone supplements, and wear sunscreen. With information coming at us from all directions, how do we separate the facts from the hype? Davis, an award-winning medical journalist whose work has been featured on CNN, PBS, and WebMD as well as in the Wall Street Journal, shares his experience of researching current health trends. From exploring ancient health "wisdom" to uncovering the real agendas of modern-day health promoters, Davis guides the reader in analyzing and thinking critically about health-related information. Readers are treated to ten chapters tackling topics like the effectiveness of sunscreens and the failure of diets. As a librarian who argues for the rigorous evaluation of information, this reviewer highly recommends Davis's book for all libraries wishing to promote healthy skepticism.
—Lisa Forrest

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520249189
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
06/01/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
254
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Simplifies the process of divining what is true science out of the hype. . . . Belongs where everyone can access it."—Booklist

" Davis guides the reader in analyzing and thinking critically about health-related information."

Library Journal

"Cuts the myth from the reality. More importantly, he helps us sort through the information available."—January Magazine

An insightful and informative look at a number of health issues, this should be enlightening."—Publishers Weekly

""Useful to all consumers who seek reliable sources of health information."—Choice

Meet the Author


Robert J. Davis is an award-winning medical journalist whose work has appeared on CNN, PBS, WebMD, and in the Wall Street Journal. He holds a master's degree in public health from Emory University and a PhD in health policy from Brandeis University. A sought-after speaker on health and the media, he also teaches at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health.

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