I thought this would be a good topic for some general discussion. In some of the “top stories” feed below I see some really questionable ones. For example, the story about Oreos being as addictive as Cocaine. Did anyone actually click through and read the article? It seems like a pretty stupid study to me. In test #1, they gave a lab rat the choice to go through a maze with two endings. One with an oreo and one with a rice cake. The rat preferred the oreo. Next they put the lab rat in the maze where one end had toe reward of cocaine and one end had the reward of a water/saline solution. They rat preferred the cocaine. Now suddenly, there is an article saying Oreos are as Addictive as cocaine!!! It’s pretty ridiculous, yet as personal trainers and group-x instructors these are exactly the kinds of tidbits and news bites we post on our facebook walls for our clients to see. Aren’t we doing them a disservice? How about the article about the “Best poses for digestion” also linked in the top stories news feed. Did you click through and read the fine print that this is based on a SINGLE yoga instructors opinion, with no scientific research to back it up? It frustrates me the amount of bad info we spread to our clients based on sensational titles. How much research do you put in to the things you share on your Facebook and Twitter feeds to your clients? Do you make a conscious effort to correct the misinformation out there? It seems like sometimes, we as professionals are our own worst enemies! What do you think?
Hi Christopher. I think that your question/post points to the need for each of us as representatives of the fitness and health industry to rely on and to know our sources of information – particularly the information that we then pass on to our clients, friends etc. Many of those who rely upon us as their initial source of fitness and health information also rely on the fact that we are ‘filtering’ what we pass on to them (by filtering I mean doing our own due diligence to make sure that the information is accurate and based on reliable sources).
The points you make are exactly why I think it’s important for each of us to decide and determine which sources we believe are credible and not simply follow EVERY headline and news report out there. As ‘they’ say, with research, “the devil is in the details!” Over my 20-year training career, I have come to recognize which sources and types of sources I give credibility to when I read their reports and studies (for example the New England Journal of Medicine), and while not everyone will ever agree on what they consider a reputable source or study, I think that as your post points out, they should at least be responsible enough to look behind the headline or story to determine it’s accuracy and whether they are comfortable with it, BEFORE passing it on to those people who follow them and rely on them as a source of fitness information.
My two cents 🙂
This is exactly why I got my holistic nutrition certification through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I wanted resources and education behind me that isn’t commercialized or opinion biased but off of research, data that isn’t being offered in the main stream society and to help clients who fit into different categories, cultures and lifestyles. I highly recommend that all trainers who help their clients on the nutrition side go to this school. It is a year long certification process which goes beyond being thorough on the composition of food and how our bodies interact with real food versus junk food, etc.
I agree with Susan that by staying in our scope of practice we can eliminate the danger of providing false information to others (especially for subjects we are not experts or familiar with). But, also need to keep in mind that some times it’s OK to repost studies or articles that we don’t agree with for the sake of starting a conversation or to enlighten our audience as to what is credible and what is not. The specific article/study you’ve mentioned in your question was posted at IDEA’s Fitfeed section, but this doesn’t make this site as a non-credible one or a source of misinformation.
Here is an interesting article by David Katz:
The responses are all great. Susan’s suggestion that we stay within our scope of practice is right on the mark. I wouldn’t say that the “misinformation,” as you call it, is the “fault” of fitness professionals.
Our responsibility as fitness professionals is to stay current on the latest reliable research, from peer-reviewed journals, and to respond to popular press releases with a focus based on our education and on scientific research.
Who is “they,” as Natalie suggests, is always a great question to ask in response to a clients comment that “they say.”