I spent this weekend at The Perspectives in Health and Fitness Conference. It was very good and while it was mostly about fitness, there was one idea that relates to all health, fitness or nutrition knowledge.
One of my favourite health researchers presented on the influence of pop culture and health. It was very entertaining, a little distressing and very valuable. Luckily, he had a film crew recording it and soon you will be able to see it too.
Timothy Caulfield, is a Canada Research Chair in Health, Law and Policy and a law professor at the University of Alberta. That doesn’t make him sound like a super exciting speaker, but he is funny, entertaining and is clearly committed to dispelling the myths about health and fitness that come with pop culture.
People often ask me for recommendations on books about health and if there is one I consistently recommend it is his “The Cure For Everything”.
At the conference Professor Caulfield talked about the impact that celebrities have on health. His example was Katy Perry who has 93.8 million followers and tweets pictures like this. Her DAILY vitamin routine…
Apparently, she also follows the mushroom diet which Women’s nutritionist and health broadcaster Jeanette Jackson said is like the mushroom… it helps you keep the weight where you want it and lose weight down below.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has 3 million followers. How can they possibly compete with the insane information that comes from pop culture? They tweet stuff like this.
It isn’t only celebrities sending terrible diet and fitness advice. The health broadcaster is equally ridiculous. The media can be misleading at best and is always looking for catchy headlines. There are plenty of “experts” looking to get rich off celebrity culture. Pharmaceutical, food and fitness industries aren’t above paying for the results they want to hear.
Which is why people get frustrated.
So what can you do?
According to Timothy Caulfield (and many others) there are 7 important things to do, all while ignoring the marketing and hype that goes with health products. Basically, the cure for everything.
- Don’t smoke – and if you do smoke nothing else matters – quit. Quit now.
- Exercise. Vigorous exercise easily surpasses most other medical treatments for prevention and treatment of chronic disease.
- Weight management. Not gaining weight is important. Losing extra weight is really important. Maintaining a healthy body weight helps prevents disease.
- Eat REAL food. There is no magic. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Prevention. Health screenings, vaccinations, wearing your seat belt, make a difference.
- Healthy relationships and social interactions help keep you healthy.
And if I can add one more… Gwyneth Paltrow is Wrong About Everything.
Change your mind, change your health,
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