The Prevention Myth

Flipping wooden cubes for change wording from "fact" to "fake".Headlines are often just click-bait, asking leading questions to get you to click the link. Here are some examples that you can find literally every day.

Can the Mediterranean Diet Prevent Cancer? Can regular exercise defy diabetes? Can the latest miracle drug, or cure, or cocoa, or fill-in-the-blank prevent depression?

The question is irresponsible because the answer to all of them is just a flat out NO. And the answer is not NO because the Mediterranean Diet isn’t actually good for you. It most definitely is. The answer is not NO because exercise doesn’t benefit your blood sugar control, nor because cocoa is not great for your heart health. They all are!

Hand is turning a dice and changes the direction of an arrow symbolizing that the risk is going up (or vice versa)

However, these healthy factors do not prevent bad health, they simply reduce the risk. That means that someone can eat perfectly healthfully and still get cancer, even though the chances had been dramatically reduced by something like diet. Likewise, a person who exercises all the time can still get heart disease. It’s just that exercise dramatically reduces the probability.

We have all heard someone say that their grandparent smoked tobacco until they were a hundred years old and they were fine. And typically they might quote the line that “smoking causes cancer”, as a way to disprove the harmful effects of smoking itself. But smoking does not cause cancer, it dramatically increases the chances that you’ll contract this disease.

This is why language is so important.

So when you hear some floof article try to capture your click by saying that you can prevent x, y, or z, scroll on by until you get to someone who doesn’t over-promise and under-deliver on their health advice.


(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *