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Does Watching Oprah Really Put Us At Risk?

Does Watching Oprah Really Put Us At Risk?

You may have read the recent Newsweek article, "Why Health Advice on ?Oprah’ Could Make You Sick", which slams her for various episodes in which she focuses on alternative medicines and ideas.  The article reports about the show in which Winfrey featured Suzanne Somers as her guest to discuss the health regimen Somers believes keeps her young and healthy.  Somers told Winfrey that she takes 60 vitamin supplements a day as well as injecting estrogen into her vagina every night.  Oprah admits that this may sound strange to many people, but she also stated that it was possible Somers could be a “pioneer” of staying healthy and young.

The Newsweek article also reports on how Winfrey featured Jenny Garth’s anti-vaccine stance, Winfrey’s own bout with thyroid problems, benefits of plastic surgery, and so on.  The article brings in experts that clearly state Winfrey has acted irresponsibly by spotlighting these issues on the show in too much of a one-sided manner.  Cynthia Pearson, executive director of the nonprofit National Women’s Health Network and hormone therapy expert responds to the Suzanne Somers episode by saying, “It blew me away that Oprah would go to her for advice on this topic.  I have to say, it diminished my respect.”

Not everyone agrees with the views expressed in the Newsweek article.  Women to Women, a health care organization that provides care for women, publicly denounced the recent attack on Winfrey from Newsweek.  Nurse Practitioner and co-founder of Women to Women,Marcelle Pick said, “The thing that is most upsetting to me about the recent attempt to undermine Oprah’s approach is that it doesn’t present a balanced perspective on alternative therapies and the role they play on our wellness.”  Pick goes on to discuss that a lot of what we consider “alternative” approaches here may be tried and true standards in other countries.

Lee Schneider, from the Huffington Post, also commented on the Newsweek attack.  Schneider questions the validity of mainstream medicine.  He points out that historically there have been plenty of conventional treatments and medicines that were later proved to be unsafe or dangerous as well as controversial new approaches that have worked in the long run.  Schneider writes, “Newsweek is going backward, contributing to the backlash against new medicine.  Oprah is going forward by supporting medical pioneers.”

Do you think Oprah Winfrey has acted irresponsibly by featuring alternative medicines on her show?

Has Newsweek gone too far with their criticism of Winfrey?

 

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  • pgarcia74 By pgarcia74
    06.20.09  

    I watch the show and like the fact that I get to hear about how others live and what they are doing to improve their lives. I saw the Somers show and just thought to myself, good for her; but I would never do what she does. The message I get from Oprah is that we should listen to our body because we are our own health advocate, be it our physical, mental, or spiritual health. And what works for some, may not work for me. I do not think Newsweek went too far. I read the article and it seems that some of the experts Oprah invited to her shows felt that they did not get equal time to defend their position and this article was their vehicle to do just that. It was an interesting article, but the headline did go a little too far, it was like a tabloid headline. But I admit that headlines are what catch attention and it did the job. I'll still watch Oprah and I'll still read Newsweek.

  • malaynna By malaynna
    06.21.09  

    I don't believe the article went too far. When someone has a platform as large as Oprah's, they have an inherent responsibility to be aware of the message they are sending out to the public. I don't think there is anything wrong with showcasing alternative medicine on a show. However, until it has some backing evidence, it shouldn't be done in a manner that makes it appear the perfect solution. Too many under-educated viewers could be misled that way. As long as Oprah's shows maintain at least a modicum of uncertainty towards these practices, I don't think there's any harm. In general, I think her shows do a fine job of riding the line between giving too much credit to, and disbelieving alternative treatments. But there have been too many instances in which this wasn't the case, and I don't fault Newsweek at all for calling Oprah out on that.

  • MyEmptyCanvas By MyEmptyCanvas
    06.22.09  

    I watched that show and my simple point is this: It's information. One-sided or not, there are resources out there to get the other half. Ask around and do what you think is best for you and not copy and imitate what "stars" do with themselves to keep themselves (or make them think they're keeping themselves) youthful, etc. I only took Oprah's show as alternative information. Irrelevant than anything I'd do, but yet still info on stuff I didn't know about...(& Dr. Phil's wife was talking about something similar or around about like that too once). You just have to do what's best for you. Period.

  • momabear By momabear
    06.22.09  

    I watch Oprah I think she is very smart and fair.I like to know whats new people are trying but that does not say I would try it my self.

  • Carolina_Girl By Carolina_Girl
    06.22.09  

    I feel like Newsweek just published the article to gain publicity and sell issues because anything with Oprah's name on it sells. There is nothing wrong with shining the spotlight on other forms of medicine or therapy. Oprah never told her viewers to stop going to their doctors and only do things one way, she just offers them alternative solutions that they can look into.

  • suoliu By suoliu
    06.22.09  

    I support alternative medicine and other natural health remedies and I am glad that Oprah makes an effort to engage her viewers on learning more. There are just too many pharmaceutical companies who develop magical pills to reduce pain or make you feel better. In leading a healthy lifestyle, you have to beware of your mind and body connection and everything starts with nutrition. I support taking daily multivitamins and multiminerals and phytonutrients. But of course, anyone looking to make a change should not just take Oprah's word for it and should practice due diligence and look into researching these methods or products on their own.

  • srg1214 By srg1214
    06.22.09  

    I think that Newsweek took the attack on Oprah a little too far. I watch the show on a regular basis. I feel like she is just presenting information to the masses, and we have to make our own decisions about what is best for our lives and health. Oprah's show is like a talking magazine. When you pick up a magazine article, you don't always get both sides of the story. For example, somebody might be featured in an article for losing weight. They tell their story, which clearly worked for them. The steps they took to lose weight might not work for you. Oprah's show gives you the opinion of other people. It lets them tell their stories and presents you with options. The person watching the show must make their own informed decision. If that requires more research on the other side of the story, then research should be done. It is television. It not only provides information, but it is entertainment.

  • Pepperjune By Pepperjune
    06.23.09  

    Its supposed to be a free world. Oprah can have whoever she wants and talk about anything she wants on her show.

  • jemappel By jemappel
    06.23.09  

    Oprah's in the business of attracting viewers, so she's going to say extreme things to attract attention. I'm glad that Newsweek presented another side to the argument because I think it's scary how many people seem to believe everything Oprah says.

  • Alliegirl By Alliegirl
    06.23.09  

    I'm probably going to be in the minority on this but, It seems that when it comes to Oprah women seem to followers! Whatever Oprah says or does or recommends thousands rush right to it. Now don't misunderstand I know that the woman has used her power for good as well, BUT come on ladies stop being so influenced and "click-ish"!

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