Philly Daily News column gives awful health advice to men

“This is so ridiculous, it may not be worth blogging on,” Marilyn Mann wrote to me.

I thrive on the ridiculous.

Whenever and wherever I see something this absurd, this non-evidence-based, this unhelpful and potentially harmful to health care consumers, I’m going to comment.

The columnist, a certified personal trainer, says she adapted her column from the July/August issue of Men’s Health magazine.

She advises men to think about getting

• Cardiac CT angiography

• Bone density scan – She writes: “Uh, oh, fellows. Did you think osteoporosis was just for women? Nope.”

• VO2 Max Test. She writes: “For this one, you get on a treadmill or stationary bike and pump up your cardiovascular volume to maximum effort while wearing a mask that measures your every breath.

The VO2 Max Test is the master cardiovascular test that will let you know what you’re made of. It’s the most accurate measure of your cardiovascular and overall health.”

You won’t find one evidence-based recommendation that supports any of those recommendations.

This kind of junk journalism feeds the “test, test, test” mentality that fuels the worried well and drives up health care costs.

I hope Philly Daily News readers either didn’t read this column or didn’t pay any attention to it. But for those that did, now you know the rest of the story.

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Sarah Cain

June 29, 2009 at 2:34 pm

You are correct when you say that such messages are bad for the general public. However, this sort of journalism isn’t the main cause of outlandish health care costs. Shoddy reporting and scare tactics happen in every other country in the world – but in those countries, people aren’t too poor to get help. In those countries, 60% of all bankruptcies don’t occur because of medical bills.
Our very system, in which doctors are allowed to charge outrageous prices to individuals, and charge less to large insurance companies, is broken. Then, you have to consider just how many operations are given unnecessarily, and the people who will forever be reliant on medications that they must take every day, forever. Yes, there are plenty of reasons that health care is so expensive, and the massive amounts of people that could avoid illness with a different lifestyle is underestimated.