TV shows on health and nutrition can be entertaining and easily capture our attention with teasers that promise to help eliminate belly fat or reveal which foods are “good” or “bad.” But the information you get is often not factual. The impact that misleading advice can have on the general public can be dangerous.
Thankfully, scientists from the American Medical Association are taking a stand. The AMA’s House of Delegates, which represents doctors throughout the country, voted to support a policy to create guidelines for physicians who appear on television shows, said University of Rochester medical student Benjamin Mayer, who pushed for the policy.
"The AMA is now willing to lead when it comes to crafting a profession that uses technology to promote public health while still maintaining rigorous ethics," Mayer said.
The vote comes amid criticism of doctors such as Mehmet Oz, whose The Dr. Oz Show has been accused by some medical experts and journalists of pushing unproven medical advice - especially on nutrition. Oz has been criticized for making “gross exaggerations” of science to promote an agenda, attacking ingredients such as low-calorie sweeteners that have been found to be perfectly safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority.
Mayer said the AMA will write a report on how doctors may be disciplined for violating medical ethics through their press involvement, and will release a public statement denouncing the dissemination of dubious medical information through the radio, TV, newspapers, or websites.
“The public will know that American doctors are taking seriously the epidemic of medical misinformation and even fraud being perpetuated in the media. We will not be silent if our colleagues abuse the trust patients place in us,” he said.
We support AMA in its efforts to encourage factual reporting of science. It is the responsibility of medical professionals – regardless of their presence in the media – to provide people with accurate information. To learn more about the science behind our products visit LetsClearItUp.org.