The 'Dr. Oz' Controversy

Before I start this post, let me put a disclaimer: I am not shaming Dr. Oz as a person or professional. I am simply retaking the facts and weighing in (haha - weighing in! Did you catch that pun there?) on an issue that must be discussed.

You may be familiar with Dr. Oz. We seemed not to know this doctor until he appeared on the Oprah show one day. Since then, he has become quite famous. From books to a show to online, everyone speaks about Dr. Oz. His show speaks about new 'miracle weight loss' tips and solutions. He promotes certain diets or herbs or pills that apparently are going to revolutionize the way we can control our weight. And there is no end to those who idolize him. The common love for him goes something like this: 'Dr. Oz says something, and the world responds. He can say nothing wrong. If Dr. Oz says something, it must be true. I must go out and buy this miracle pill because Dr. Oz said that it works'.

So can you imagine what happened when the world is told that Dr. Oz was challenged just two weeks ago. It was found that some of his statements and claims were false; they are not based of scientific evidence. He then admitted that 'there is no magical pill that will help you lose weight without diet and exercise'. In the end, it seems that Dr. Oz's claims about weight loss miracles are simply not true or accurate. They are misleading. (See for details. And sadly, his position as a doctor, one also loved by Oprah, makes this even more tragic. People believed in him. People believed that as a 'doctor', whatever he said was correct. People thought that since he appeared on Oprah, he must be right. Media claims about Dr. Oz's wisdom filled society with the idea that whatever Dr. Oz said was right. And now, we are told that this is false. Society is now (finally) hearing the truth: Dr. Oz is not always right. Not very grunt he says must be true.

I've personally never been a fan of Dr. Oz. For one thing, I know that a pill or food alone cannot help control weight. In all my nursing studies, I'll tell you the basic notion: weight control comes from eating a balanced diet and exercising. Secondly, Dr. Oz's 'advice' never comes with scientific articles that have proven to me what he is saying. I refuse to accept his claims without studying the evidence behind them. Third, just because he is a 'doctor' doesn't mean that he is always right. I'm a nursing student, soon to be a nurse. If I said that you can grow wings by eating purple broccoli, would you believe me?

Perhaps the hype around Dr. Oz come from the desire of society to refuse to accept responsibility for our health. We don't want to be told that eating a variety and balance of foods in moderation is the best option. We don't want to hear that exercise is needed. Society wants to hear that there is a miracle for being healthy. We want the easy way out, so to speak. It's a lot easier to buy a pill and hope that it will speed up my metabolism than it is to actually our in the effort of eating well and controlling my stews. But what society needs to know is that there IS NO MIRACLE. THE MIRACLE IA BALANCE: balance in eating all things in moderation, sleeping and exercising, and controlling stress and risk factors. We also need to begin to realize that we can't believe everything we read or hear. We need to learn to search for the evidence and to see that simply being someone in authority and prestige, such as Dr. Oz, doesn't make someone the wisest person alive.

Will everyone stop listening to Dr. Oz now? Sadly, I don't think so. People who love him will refuse to believe that his claims are fake and wrong. Or people will soon forget about this when he comes on TV the next episode to talk about some other miracle solution. What needs to change is society. We need to become smarter receivers of information. We need to stop consuming information without stopping to see if it is credible. We need to start taking charge of our health and seeing that our bodies are not experiments. Our bodies need care. That means a balanced diet, physical activity, and rest. No miracle pill can give your body this. Once we learn to stop taking advice from sources that aren't reliable, we can begin to take steps that will truly promote our health. And once we stop paying attention to false source of information that claim they have found 'miracle solutions and magical life savers to the weight/body size/(whatever problem the world faces), we can ensure that these sources do not continue to fool people. Please, be aware of what you listen to and what advice you take. Do not simply listen to advice because someone is in a position of authority or because everyone else is doing it. Be smart and informed.

And just to lighten things up a bit, here is a comic that both brings this message across...and makes me laugh each time I read it.

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