Weight-Focused Public Health Interventions—No Benefit, Some Harm

“findings in these articles are consistent with literature on the adverse impact of weight stigma, which may be exacerbated by the increased focus on weight. Specifically, health promotion approaches that focus on obesity and target the individual perpetuate weight stigma and fail to address the profound inequities that drive disparities in health and weight. For example, BMI report cards, a widely used school-based childhood obesity intervention, inform parents of their child’s weight status and increase parents’ weight-related anxiety but provide little guidance about evidence-based health promotion strategies and offer no structural support for behavior change. Furthermore, weight-focused health promotion approaches … Read More

How might a mask mandate play out? Look to the battle over seat belt laws

“If public health officials want to get people to wear masks to curb the spread of Covid-19, they might take a lesson what is now a widely accepted aspect of American life: buckling up. [..] Fred Rivara, an injuries expert and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, remembers an unsubstantiated claim that any positive effects would be cancelled out by people dying when they couldn’t escape fiery cars. [..] After years of pressure, President Johnson signed legislation in 1966 that required seat belts in all passenger vehicles and created a national traffic safety agency. Rivara credits science for … Read More

Offline: Managing the COVID-19 vaccine infodemic

“In their 2019 book, The Misinformation Age, Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall explain how false beliefs persist and spread. They emphasise the social character of fake news. The connections between us in groups or networks enable the propagation of misleading evidence as well as true beliefs. Models of communication show the importance of trust in shaping the spread of beliefs. The greater the distrust among those with different views, the greater the risk of permanent polarisation. We are also prey to conformity bias—a desire to agree with others and to trust the judgments of others. Our predilection to conformity … Read More

Tribal Truce — How Can We Bridge the Partisan Divide and Conquer Covid?

“Masks have become a flash point in our culture wars: as a symbol of either a commitment to public health or an infringement on basic liberties, the mask encapsulates the politicization of science. But since human behavior — including wearing or shunning masks — will determine the pandemic’s ultimate toll, communication strategies that bridge our partisan divide over science may prove as important as any novel therapeutic. Beyond the near complete failure of U.S. federal leadership in combating the pandemic, one significant problem, according to Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, has been the absence of consistent communication from nonpartisan experts. During … Read More

Suboptimal US Response to COVID-19 Despite Robust Capabilities and Resources

“As measured by the GHS [Global Health Security] Index, the US was better positioned than most other countries to respond to COVID-19. The Index includes 140 questions that assess national capacities or abilities among 6 categories: (1) prevention of the emergence, release, or spread of pathogens; (2) early detection and reporting for epidemics of potential international concern; (3) rapid response to and mitigation of the spread of an epidemic; (4) sufficient and robust health system to treat affected patients and protect health workers; (5) commitments to improving national capacity, financing plans to address gaps, and adhering to global norms; and … Read More

Seizing the Teachable Moment — Lessons from Eisenhower’s Heart Attack

“it is worth stepping back from the flood of information surrounding the hospitalization of President Donald Trump for Covid-19 and recalling the events surrounding the heart attack of President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955 — including the crucial role played by cardiologist Paul Dudley White. [..] Eisenhower’s physician might have been slow to recognize his heart attack, but his staff immediately grasped the need to share information with the country. After all, Eisenhower was not just the president — he was also a candidate for reelection, and an immediate question was whether he would be able to run for office in … Read More

Association of Preferences for Participation in Decision-making With Care Satisfaction Among Hospitalized Patients

“Variation in patient preferences and expectations concerning engagement may be associated with patient-reported quality metrics, including satisfaction, ratings of care, quality of life, and other measures of health service quality. Because preferences and expectations exhibit geographic variation, such associations could complicate the interpretation of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) as measures of clinician performance. Despite the growing use of such performance metrics, literature on the association of PROs with preferences for participation in decision-making is limited, particularly among urban minority racial/ethnic populations. Because race/ethnicity has important associations with patient trust and satisfaction, studies that include diverse populations are essential to understand preferences … Read More

The online anti-vaccine movement in the age of COVID-19

“A new report by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has lambasted social media companies for allowing the anti-vaccine movement to remain on their platforms. The report’s authors noted that social media accounts held by so-called anti-vaxxers have increased their following by at least 7·8 million people since 2019. “The decision to continue hosting known misinformation content and actors left online anti-vaxxers ready to pounce on the opportunity presented by coronavirus”, stated the report. [..] The CCDH calculated that the anti-vaccine movement could realise US$1 billion in annual revenues for social media firms. As much as $989 million could … Read More