Oprah’s health advice may be toxic

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    A recent Newsweek story took Oprah to task for her habit of doling out health advice to the masses via her popular show. The article blamed her for stepping out of talk show goddess territory and into the medical expert space.

    Among the examples of O’s personal opinion coming across as health dogma was a show that featured Suzanne Somers, who is an advocate of using hormone therapy to fight off aging. After explaining the various pills that she takes daily (about 60 by our count), Suzanne acknowledged that, "I know I look like some kind of freak and fanatic," she said. "But I want to be there until I’m 110, and I’m going to do what I have to do to get there."

    "Many people write Suzanne off as a quackadoo," Oprah responded. "But she just might be a pioneer." The host then gave the medical community an opportunity to refute Suzanne’s claims, which a panel of doctors did. But what seems to have gotten under Newsweek‘s skin was the format in which it was done. The magazine wrote that, "it wasn’t quite a fair fight. The doctors who raised these concerns were seated down in the audience and had to wait to be called on. Somers sat onstage next to Oprah, who defended her from attack."

    Newsweek spoke with Cynthia Pearson, the leader of the National Women’s Health Network and "an authority on hormone therapy," according to the magazine. "It completely blew me away that Oprah would go to her for advice on this topic," she said. "I have to say, it diminished my respect."

    Other hot-button topics that Lady O has covered in the past include vaccinations as the cause of autism (actress Jenny McCarthy spoke on this) and the lack of safety in the HPV vaccine.

    The takeaway from the story seemed to be "don’t listen to Oprah," which is a little obvious. She’s not a doctor, but she is a person with a platform and an opinion. So why is it so wrong that she utilizes that, and that people glean information from it?

    What do you think: Should Oprah give health advice?

     


    –Whitney Teal

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