What Health Information Can You Trust For Your Family? Bob Rauner, MD, MPH, President, Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln
t seems everywhere we go we are bombarded by health information – sensational headlines in the newspaper, miracle diets on magazines in the grocery checkout line, or commercials promoting the latest amazing supplement. Where can parents go for accurate and reliable health information? A few rules of thumb can help.
Search for a Source First, there are plenty of sources on the internet for free, but stick to educational, governmental or non-profit sites. These sites don’t end in “.com”, but rather “.edu”, “.gov” or “.org”. Examples include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc. gov) or nonprofit medical sourc-
es like the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation (www.FamilyDoctor.org) or the Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic. org, click on the Patient Care tab).
Beware the “Quick Fix” Second, be skeptical of the quick fixes or sensational headlines. Quick fix remedies are usually tricks to get you to buy the latest questionable dietary supplements. Sensational headlines are usually tricks to get you to buy a magazine or “click bait” to get you to click on a website or Facebook link. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Frankly, the things that are best for your family’s health are rarely advertised because they are mostly low cost or free. Things like eating
fruits and vegetables, going for a walk, getting enough sleep, buckling up in the car and avoiding cigarette smoke don’t cost much. Because of this, they aren’t advertised because no one is making money off of these health habits.
Look for “Nature’s Packaging” Third, take a closer look at what you’re buying. Food marketing is especially a problem. Often times, foods advertised with words like “diet”, “low fat” or “low carb” are not really that healthy. The healthiest foods usually have no advertising or buzz words on them because they don’t come in packages, so there is no place for advertisements. Many healthy foods like apples, oranges and carrots come in “nature’s packaging”, and have little room for advertising. Another helpful suggestion for healthy food is to look for single or few ingredient foods. If the box or can has a long list of ingredients or includes the names of things
you don’t recognize, it’s probably not that good for you. Some single-ingredient healthy foods are available prepackaged, for example nuts, milk, and frozen peas. Other low-ingredient foods are, too, like whole wheat pasta–just look for those with simple lists of ingredients like “whole wheat, eggs, olive oil”. Follow these tips and you’ll find it easier to get real health information in the “disinformation” age. Par tnership for a Healthy Lincoln (PHL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health, wellness, and fitness of our community. We collaborate with other organizations on joint projects to improve health by increasing physical fitness, promoting good nutrition, supporting breastfeeding, and improving cancer screening rates. Our work includes improving health and wellness policies, conducting community level research, and evaluation of the success of local health initiatives.
Spring 2017 • Page 21
Published on Jan 30, 2017
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