Tag Archives: nutrition

Obesity research: What to know and making sense of studies

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

obesity-webcastCalling obesity an “epidemic” is almost a cliche in health reporting, but there is no question that obesity is linked to many serious health issues and quality of life, and obesity incidence has been increasing.

That reality has led to even more medical research into its causes, its treatment and management and the conditions obesity increases the risk of experiencing.

In a Jan. 13 webcast, obesity expert and physician Yoni Freedhoff will provide an overview of the state of obesity research and explain what reporters need to know and look for in medical research about obesity.

With Tara Haelle, AHCJ’s core topic leader on medical studies, Freedhoff will explain what we know, how to cut through hype, how to spot less evidence-based claims, and how to talk about the issue in a respectful way. Find out how to participate.

Make use of this AHCJ benefit to help cover food and nutrition issues

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at susan@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Amanda Mills/Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThe November issue of Health Affairs looks at food as a social determinant of health. AHCJ members can access the journal for free.

When it comes to food as a social determinant of health, the issue can be daunting for reporters. Is it about cost? Or access, location and time, or maybe behaviors, education and literacy? What about obesity and other diseases? There are so many factors that it can be hard to settle on an angle to investigate.

If you’ve thought about trying to cover food as a health issue but haven’t been sure exactly where to start, the November issue of Health Affairs could be a good launching pad. The journal, which is available free for AHCJ members, dedicated the issue to food – from shopping habits and menus to Medicaid costs and obesity. Continue reading

Despite bacon headlines, reporters got to the meat of the story

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

“When you pry the bacon from my cold, dead, cancerous hands …”

Some days it seems the press loves nothing more than a new agent that causes cancer. The more common or beloved that agent is, the better. And so the only way I can think to describe the way the media reported on the news that processed meats cause cancer is “gleefully.” The force of hyperbole was strong on Monday as the bytes and airwaves filled with horror at the prospect that bacon … might not actually be good for us. Continue reading

Navigating the ‘geriverse’ whether it’s your normal beat or not

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com, Practical Diabetology and Home Care Technology report. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: Steve Baker via Flickr

Aging. We all do it; some better than others.

Why do some people keep going strong into their 90s and beyond, while others become frail, infirm, or lose cognitive ability while still a “young-old?” To report on aging is to open a Pandora’s box of related issues, from care delivery to policy matters; insurance, finance, housing, nutrition, family relationships, technology … you name it and chances are there’s a story angle on aging. Continue reading

What can reporters learn from the chocolate diet study hoax?

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: BlueRidgeKitties via Flickr

Photo: BlueRidgeKitties via Flickr

You’ve been fooled. You thought eating chocolate while dieting could help you shed the pounds faster because a study supposedly said so, and outlets all over the place covered it – but it was based on an intentionally faulty, hyped study.

At least, that’s the story that journalist John Bohannon, who was the first author, partial architect and promoter of the study, told in a viral io9 piece. The story exploded in social media as readers, journalists, scientists, ethicists and others argued over what he really proved, whether he should have done it and what lessons can be gleaned from the stunt. Continue reading