Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Sex and violence may not really sell products

From the 21 July 2015 Ohio State news release

Researchers analyzed the results of 53 different experiments (a so-called meta-analysis) involving nearly 8,500 people, done over 44 years. All of these experiments examined some facet of the question of whether sexual or violent media content could help sell advertised products.

When all the results are considered together, the overall conclusion, with some caveats, is that programs featuring violence and sex aren’t the ideal context for effective advertising, said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.

It’s not that people don’t pay attention to sex and violence in the media, Bushman said. In fact, an evolutionary perspective would say it is just the opposite.

“People are so focused on the sex and violence they see in the media that they pay less attention to the advertising messages that appear along with it,” Bushman said

Read the entire article here

July 25, 2015 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News releae] Fast Food Giants’ Ads for Healthier Kids Meals Don’t Send the Right Message

BK Meal

BK Meal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 5 March 2015 Dartmouth news release

Fast food giants attempts at depicting healthier kids’ meals frequently goes unnoticed by children ages 3 to 7 years old according to a new study by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. In research published on March 31, 2014 in JAMA Pediatrics, Dartmouth researchers found that one-half to one-third of children did not identify milk when shown McDonald’s and Burger King children’s advertising images depicting that product. Sliced apples in Burger King’s ads were identified as apples by only 10 percent of young viewers; instead most reported they were french fries.

Other children admitted being confused by the depiction, as with one child who pointed to the product and said, “And I see some…are those apples slices?”

The researcher replied, “I can’t tell you…you just have to say what you think they are.”

“I think they’re french fries,” the child responded.

Almost Half of Energy Drink TV Ads Shown on Channels for Teens (Dartmouth press release)

March 10, 2015 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Drugs For Life; Subcultural Identity

 

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March 13, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , | Leave a comment

[Free Statistics Book] Know Your Chances – NCBI Bookshelf

Ever been scared or made uncomfortable about threats to your health? And solutions that seemed too good to be true?
Here’s a book for just about everyone that can help one understand the statistics behind health information. And how to spot misinformation easily.

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 7.42.36 AM

What This Book is About – Know Your Chances – NCBI Bookshelf.

From the intro

Every day we are faced with news stories, ads, and public service announcements that describe health threats and suggest ways we can protect ourselves. It’s impossible to watch television, open a magazine, read a newspaper, or go online without being bombarded by messages about the dangers we face.

Many of the messages are intended to be scary, warning us that we are surrounded by danger and hinting that everything we do or neglect to do brings us one step closer to cancer, heart disease, and death. Other messages are intended to be full of hope, reassuring us that technological miracles and breakthrough drugs can save us all. And many messages do both: they use fear to make us feel vulnerable and then provide some hope by telling us what we can do (or buy) to lower our risk. In addition, as you may suspect, a great many of these messages are wildly exaggerated: many of the risks we hear about are really not so big, and the benefits of many of the miraculous breakthroughs are often pretty small.

As a result, we are often left misinformed and confused. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The goal of this book is to help you better understand health information by teaching you about the numbers behind the messages—the medical statistics on which the claims are based. The book will also familiarize you with risk charts, which are designed to help you put your health concerns in perspective. By learning to understand the numbers and knowing what questions to ask, you’ll be able to see through the hype and find the credible information—if any—that remains.

Don’t worry: this is not a math book (only a few simple calculations are required). Instead, this is a book that will teach you what numbers to look for in health messages and how to tell when the medical statistics don’t support the message. This book will help you develop the basic skills you need to become a better consumer of health messages, and these skills will foster better communication between you and your doctor.

 

From the book (pages 130-132)

From the book

CREDIBLE SOURCES OF HEALTH STATISTICS

Sources Created Primarily for Consumers BMJ (British Medical Journal) Best Treatments

http://besttreatments.bmj.com/btuk/home.jsp

Medical publishing division of the British Medical Association (no commercial ads allowed). Rates the science supporting the use of operations, tests, and treatments for a variety of conditions. In the United States and Canada, available only with a Consumer Reportssubscription.

Center for Medical Consumers

www.medicalconsumers.org

Independent, nonprofit organization. Offers a skeptical take on health claims and recent health news. Free.

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs* www.consumerreports.org/health/bestbuy-drugs.htm

Independent, nonprofit organization. Compares the benefits, side effects, and costs of different prescription drugs for the same problem, based on information from the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (see listing on page 131). Free.

Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making*

www.informedmedicaldecisions.org

Independent, nonprofit organization. Offers decision aids that describe the treatment options and outcomes for various conditions in order to promote patient involvement in decision making. DVDs must be purchased at http://www.healthdialog.com/hd/Core/CollaborativeCare/videolibrary.htm.

* Two of us (Drs. Schwartz and Woloshin) are on the advisory board for Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs (unpaid positions). We have been paid consultants reviewing materials for the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making.

Informed Health Online

www.informedhealthonline.org

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, an independent, nonprofit organization established by German health care reform legislation. Describes the science supporting the use of operations, tests, and treatments for a variety of conditions. Free.

Ottawa Health Research Institute Patient Decision Aids

http://decisionaid.ohri.ca

Academic affiliate of the University of Ottawa. Provides a comprehensive inventory of decision aids (plus a rating of their quality), and tells patients how to get them. Some are free.

Sources Created Primarily for Physicians and Policy Makers Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

www.ahrq.gov/clinic/epcix.htm

U.S. federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services. Summarizes all the available data about treatments for specific conditions (look for EPC Evidence Reports). Free.

Cochrane Library

www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/mrwhome/106568753/HOME

International, independent, nonprofit organization of researchers. Summarizes all the available data about treatments for specific conditions (look for Cochrane Reviews). Abstracts free, full reports by subscription.

Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP)

www.ohsu.edu/drugeffectiveness/reports/final.cfm

Collaboration of public and private organizations developed by Oregon Health and Science University. Provides comparative data on the benefit, side effects, and costs of different prescription drugs for the same problem (source for Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs). Free.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/index.jsp?action=byTopic

Independent, nonprofit British organization that advises the British National Health Service. Summarizes all the available data about treatments for specific conditions (look for NICE Guidance). Free.

Physician Data Query (PDQ)—National Cancer Institute

www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq

U.S. federal government (part of the National Cancer Institute). Summa- rizes all the available data about cancer prognosis and treatments (look for Cancer Information Summaries). Free.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

www.fda.gov/cder/index.html

U.S. federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, which reviews and approves new and generic drugs. To look up individual drugs, go to http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/index.cfm. After you choose a drug from the index, the Drug Details page appears. If you click Approval History, you may be able to access a Review and then a Medical Review. TheMedical Review contains all the relevant randomized trials submitted to the FDA for approval. From the Drug Details page, you can also access Label Information, when it is available (the package insert that comes with prescription drugs and summarizes excerpts of the review documents). Warning: This site can be challenging. The review documents can be hundreds of pages, and there may be multiple entries for the same drug (because it is used for multiple purposes). Free.

US Preventive Services Task Force

www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstfix.htm

Independent panel of experts sponsored by AHRQ. Summarizes the available data about preventive services. After you choose a topic, you’ll see the relevant recommendations; at the bottom of the list, you can click Best- Evidence Systematic Review under Supporting Documents. Free.

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics | , | Leave a comment

[Report] Fast Food Facts 2013 Measuring Progress in the Nutritional Quality and Marketing of Fast Food to Children and Teens

Thinking my reaction to advertising was formed during weekly grocery trips when I was in grade school (back in the 60’s)
When we checked out the groceries I remember the candy, gum, and other goodies in the check out area.
While I did look at the items longingly, I knew not to ask for any of them. So, this carried over to advertising on television, especially Saturday morning cartoons.
McDonald’s? Thinking maybe, and just maybe we went there once during my grade school years.

 

From the November 2013 Robert Wood Johnson Report

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The nutritional quality of fast-food meals, and how those meals are marketed to children and teens, has improved, but more work is needed.

The Issue:
Fast Food FACTS 2013, issued by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, examines the nutritional quality of fast food, and how restaurants market their foods and beverages to children and teens. The report examines 18 of the top restaurant chains in the United states, and updates a similar report released in 2010.

 Key Findings

  • A total of $4.6 billion was spent on all advertising by fast food restaurants in 2012. This was an 8 percent increase over 2009. McDonald’s spent 2.7 times as much to advertise its products as all fruit, vegetable, bottled water, and milk advertisers combined.
  • Less than 1 percent of all kids’ meal combinations met recommended nutrition standards.
  • On average, U.S. preschoolers viewed 2.8 fast food ads on TV every day in 2012; children aged 6-11 years viewed 3.2 ads per day; and teens viewed 4.8 ads per day.
  • Fast food restaurants continued to target black and Hispanic youth, populations at high risk for obesity and related diseases.
Conclusion:
Researchers conclude that while improvements have been made, there is more work to be done to improve the overall nutritional quality of fast food. Additionally, the researchers call for fast food restaurants to stop targeting children and teens with marketing that encourages frequent visits to these restaurants.

About the Study:
The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity used the same methods as it did for the original Fast Food FACTS in 2010. Nutritional data were collected in February 2013, and most marketing data examine practices through 2012. The report was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Marketing Has an Impact on Children’s Health

Related article

Best and Worst of Food Marketing to Our Children (Food, Facts, and Fads)

 

FTC Updates Report on Food Marketing to Children

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released a report entitled, “A Review of Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents,” which shows that food and beverage companies spent less in marketing targeted to children in 2009 than they did in 2006, and the food and beverages marketed to youth had very small improvements in nutritional quality during that period. Food companies spent $1.8 billion to advertise to children age 2 to 17 in 2009, down from $2.1 billion in 2006.

The report was an update to the FTC’s 2008 report, “Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents: A Review of Industry Expenditures, Activities, and Self-Regulation,” which documented the amount food companies spent on marketing targeted to youth in 2006.

The reduction can be attributed to a decline in advertising on traditional media such as TV, radio, and print; however, food companies increased their youth-targeted spending on other forms of marketing, including websites, internet advertising, viral/word-of-mouth marketing, product placements, movie and video ads, cross-promotion licenses, celebrity endorsements, events, and philanthropy. In addition, spending on food marketing to tweens and teens increased from 2006 to 2009.

“While there’s been progress in advertising to children age 2 to 11 on traditional media, children continue to see too many ads for products of questionable nutritional quality,” said Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, Rudd Center Director of Marketing Initiatives. “Companies have also shifted much of their spending toward a somewhat older child audience, including 12- to 14-year-olds, and into newer forms of marketing.”

“Industry has faced public and legal pressure as well as pressure from health experts to improve their practices,” said Kelly Brownell, PhD, Rudd Center Director. “The voluntary changes they made are only modest and they have stepped up marketing in some arenas. The pressure on industry to do more must continue.”

The FTC’s report was conducted as part of a Congressional inquiry into rising childhood obesity rates and aims to help public health experts, parents, and lawmakers understand the extent of food marketing to children.

 

Food Marketing to Youth: The Best and the Worst of 2012

Only $11.4 million was spent on marketing fruits and vegetables to youth in 2006, representing less than 1 percent of the $2 billion spent on all food marketing to youth, according to the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance and Federal Trade Commission. Food and beverage companies use traditional forms of marketing, such as television advertising and promotions on product packages, but companies are increasingly using more unique and invasive techniques. The Rudd Center compiled a collection of thebest and worst examples of food marketing practices in 2012, including McDonald’s and Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Summer Olympic Games (worst) and Disney restricting junk food advertising to children (best).

 

Million Ideas

Lots of us hate to admit it, but marketing has a huge impact on what we buy, eat, and how we live our lives. While marketing and advertising affects all of us, children are especially impressionable. A good advertiser knows what will stick with kids, and they use every trick in the book. The junk food industry is no exception, and marketers understand that getting their message to children leads to big business. To show just how much of an impact marketing has on our children’s health, we reached out to teach.com and USC Rossier Online and borrowed their infographic, “Targeting Children With Treats.”

A huge thanks to Teach.com and USC Rossier Online for sharing the infographic!

View original post

December 22, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Is summertime bringing new wave of ads for artificial knees?

Knee replacement

Knee replacement (Photo credit: Mundoo)

By  Gary Schwitzer in health care marketingMedical devices at HealthNewsReview.org (6 June 2012)

After giving two examples of recent direct marketing advertising (to potential patients) for knee replacements he proceeds…

More than year ago I wrote about hip joint TV ads.  At that time, Naomi Freundlich wrote:

Together, hip and knee replacement surgeries already represent the largest hospital expense for Medicare. And, according to an article in Time magazine, the money spent on these two procedures is expected to reach $65.2 billion by 2015.

There is no doubt that part of Medicare reform will involve looking at ways to reduce this cost. One approach is to move the choice of device away from vague “physician preference” and toward evidence-based criteria…

he American Joint Replacement Registry was created recently, and just this January began a pilot project collecting hip and knee replacement information from 16 representative hospitals. In a statement, the organization (made up of surgeons, executives from the device industry, payers and patient representatives) said that its “long-term goal is to capture data from 90 percent of U.S. hospitals where hip and knee arthroplasty procedures are performed, which amounts to between 5,000 and 6,000 different hospitals, in the next 5 years.”

In the end, marketing devices directly to consumers is antithetical to these other measures that are designed to promote evidence-based treatments. …

Unless insurers—both public and private—start using evidence-based decision making to set coverage for new hip implant devices, the number of younger patients undergoing more expensive procedures will likely rise—sometimes for the wrong reasons.

June 12, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , | Leave a comment

Some questionable medical marketing practices via HealthNewsReview.org

A laparoscopic robotic surgery machine. Patien...

A laparoscopic robotic surgery machine. Patient-side cart of the da Vinci surgical system. Into the sealed Computer God Robot Operating Cabinet, as a Frankenstein slave, at night. Da Vinci Surgical System. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One pitch states “This is a good time to have it done so you can recover while spending a couple of days on the couch watching hoops with your wife’s approval.”

The editor soberly concludes that “more players in the health care field have learned that lesson and are acting on it all the time – “with appropriate marketing” you can make almost anything a trend.  Full body CT scans…prostate cancer screenings in mobile vans….Botox parties…

The article outlines how robotic surgery is touted as a great way to quickly recover from surgery so one can resume daily graveside visits to a recently lost spouse.

  • Plastic surgeon with nose for news has PR, YouTube video, and now – ethics investigation

    Some journalists recently received this news release: Miami Plastic surgeon –“Dr. Schnoz” offering a nose job, trip to Miami to the winner of a video contest March 8, 2012 – Dr. Michael Salzhauer, leading Miami Plastic Surgeon at Bal Harbour PlasticSurgery Associates, announced today “A Nose Job Love Song Giveaway.” Dr. Salzhauer’s contest involves creating […]

     

March 21, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , | Leave a comment

Killing Us Softly 4 – a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity

This video is at http://trionakennedy.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/killing-us-softly-4-a-fresh-look-at-how-advertising-traffics-in-distorted-and-destructive-ideals-of-femininity/

The blog posting is by   at the blog “What would Mary Astell do?”

A feminist community campaign resource and blog on political philosophy, law, education & culture

An excerpt from the 22 minute video.

“And just as it’s difficult to be healthy in a toxic physical environment, if we’re breathing poisoned air for example, or drinking polluted water.

So it’s difficult to be healthy in what I call a “toxic cultural environment” – an environment that surrounds us with unhealthy images and constantly sacrifices our health and our sense of well being for the sake of profit.

Ads sell more than products. They sell values, they sell images, they sell concepts of love and sexuality, of success and perhaps most important, of normalcy.

To a great extent they tell us who we are and who we should be.

The video goes on to showcase how photshop creates images of woman which do not reflect reality, how advertising portrays women as objects, creates climate in which there is widespread violence against women.Dehumanization is a step towards violence.

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

FCC seeks to change regulation of corporate interests disclosures on TV news (including local hospital segments on the news)

Those health news segments on the local news might not be as unbiased as they appear!

From the 3 January 2012 Washington Post article by Paul Farhi

V newscasts are increasingly seeded with corporate advertising masquerading as news — and the federal government wants to do something about it.

Concerned that subtle “pay-for-play” marketing ploys are seeping into the news, the Federal Communications Commission has proposed a regulation that would require the nation’s 1,500 commercial TV stations to disclose online the corporate interests behind the news….

“Unless you stick around for the end credits, you’re unlikely to know it’s payola,” said Corie Wright, senior policy counsel for Free Press, a media watchdog group backing the FCC proposal. “If broadcasters were required to put it online, you could check to see if it was actually sponsored or not.”

The proposed regulation is aimed at news programs that appear to viewers to be the work of independent journalists, but in fact sponsors have shaped or even dictated the coverage.

A common form of advertiser-supplied content, documented in a recent Washington Post article, is a live interview segment in which a seemingly neutral reviewer recommends a series of products that the “reviewer” has been paid by sponsors to mention. Stations across the country have also brokered “exclusive” relationships with local hospitals in which the hospitals pay the station to be featured in health stories.  [my emphasis] Other stations have aired “news” programs that feature interviews with sponsors who’ve paid for the privilege.

According to an FCC report, many stations also use “video news releases,” footage produced by a sponsor or corporate interest that looks like it was shot by the station.

Under current law, such arrangements aren’t illegal,

 

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How advertising shapes the image of gayness in America

From the 5 December 2011 Eureka News Alert

University of Miami School of Communication study: Images of gays in ads now part of the mainstream

CORAL GABLES, FL (December 5, 2011)–The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the presence of gays in American advertising. The media has transformed the stigmatized stereotype of gays into a new, socially desirable image of stylish consumers with high-end taste. This marketing strategy affects the way gays understand themselves and influences the meaning of gayness for society in general, explains Wan-Hsiu Sunny Tsai, assistant professor of advertising at the University of Miami School of Communication, in a study recently published by the Journal of Advertising.

“The findings illuminate the influential role of advertising in informing and shaping personal identities and highlights the often ignored sociopolitical dimension of advertising, Tsai says. “In other words, when marketers argue that no matter who they target, ‘it’s just business,’ their marketing messages actually have broader, cultural impacts on the minority community.”

 Click here to read the entire Eureka article

 

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrity endorsements of prescription drugs

From the 7 July 2011 KevinMD column by Richard Meyer

Boniva continues to use Sally Field as a celebrity spokesperson for their product but as John Mack pointed out, should any prescription drugs be paying celebrities to endorse their products?  Well, according to an Ace Metrix study the answer to that is “probably no.”

The Ace Metrix study found of more than 2,600 ads that celebrity ads do not perform any better than non-celebrity ads and in some case perform much worse.  In their study whether or not a celebrity endorses a product was unimportant in determining whether an ad resonated with viewers.  In fact compared with industry norms relatively few celebrity ads were able to earn performance marks above the industry averages…

Read entire article

July 29, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Evidence mounting on the harms of alcohol industry sponsorship of sport

Evidence mounting on the harms of alcohol industry sponsorship of sport

From the February 1, 2011 Eureka news alert

While policy makers in Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand debate whether alcohol advertising and sponsorship should be banned from sport, new research provides evidence that alcohol industry sponsorship is associated with more hazardous drinking in sportspeople compared to non-alcohol sponsorship.

Health scientists from Monash University, the University of Manchester, Deakin University and University of Western Sydney, asked Australian sportspeople about their drinking behaviours, sport participation, and what sorts of sport sponsorship they currently receive.

After accounting for other influences receipt of alcohol industry sponsorship in various forms was associated with significantly higher levels of drinking. Receipt of similar forms of sponsorship from non-alcohol industries such as, building firms, food or clothing companies was not related to higher drinking levels.

Of the 30 per cent of sportspeople reporting receiving alcohol industry sponsorship, 68 per cent met World Health Organisation criteria for classification as hazardous drinkers.

The research, published online in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, is the first to compare alcohol industry sponsorship to non-alcohol industry sponsorship…..

….

Sport is being misused to promote alcohol to sportspeople and the general population. The public do not need more encouragement to drink, and there are ways of replacing alcohol advertising and sponsorship dollars in sport,” Dr O’Brien said.

“Much like was done with tobacco, a proportion of the excise duty currently gathered by governments from alcohol sales could be ring fenced (hypothecated) for funding sport and cultural events. This would replace alcohol industry funding many times over,” Dr O’Brien said.

Norway and France have had longstanding bans in place with little apparent effect on sport, and this year Turkey banned all alcohol advertising and sponsorship of sport. France successfully hosted the 1998 FIFA World Cup with their alcohol sponsorship and advertising ban in place, and currently host the multi-nation Heineken Cup Rugby competition, renamed the H-Cup in France….

…Deakin University scientist Dr Peter Miller said “This study provides new evidence of the harms associated with alcohol industry sponsorship of sport and we believe that any sporting association serious about the well-being of young people should support calls for governments to provide alternative funding. It’s simply not worth gambling with their future for the sake of some easy money.”

 

 

 

February 4, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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