Baby Formula Ads Can Be Deadly

by Kapil Khatter on January 23, 2013

Formula ads can be deadlyFormula can kill. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true. Like medications, formula can have side effects, namely a sick child, and sometimes a seriously sick child. An international code barring the advertising of formula exists for just that reason, yet formula companies around the world continue to actively convince parents to buy and use their products.

Baby formula does have a role of course. Not every woman can or is ready to breastfeed; milk banks and milk sharing are often not available or are not a comfortable choice. But helping women breastfeed while formula companies are helping them not to is as frustrating as helping people eat better in this junk food world, or helping them exercise in this age of the car.

The goal is not to judge women and their choices around breastfeeding, but to judge those who make breastfeeding more difficult: the workplaces and public spaces that are not breastfeeding-friendly, the hospitals and health care providers that subtly or not so subtly discourage breastfeeding, the companies who try to increase sales regardless of the public health consequences.

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The NRA Stands Behind Guns, Not Gun Owners

by Kapil Khatter on January 3, 2013

The NRA does not speak for gun ownersThe National Rifle Association (NRA) doesn’t speak for gun owners, not even for its members. The NRA speaks for gun makers and gun sellers. And the message is simple: buy more guns.

For many, the name NRA brings images of commandos and vigilantes, of survivalists and trophy hunters. People see the celebrity faces, the bombastic Charlton Heston, the wild-man Ted Nugent. They rarely see the what the NRA really is: the organization of Glock, Remington, and Smith & Wesson.

Gun money has bought politicians, silenced agencies, shifted politics to the right (tweet)

The NRA comes off as crazy to many of us, because, well, it is crazy. Opposing background checks on all gun sales — crazy. Opposing gun owners having to notify police when guns are lost or stolen — crazy. Supporting gun ownership for people on terrorism watch lists — double crazy.

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Help fix Heart and Stroke’s Health Check Program

by Kapil Khatter on December 18, 2012

Health Check is in need of a makeover. The program needs to promote fresh fruit and vegetables, rather than packaged and processed food. It needs to encourage cooking at home from scratch rather than eating at restaurants, especially fast food restaurants. It needs to stop giving check marks to the too salty and the too sweet.

“Health Check doesn’t help … its nutritional criteria are so weak and the program so poorly executed that rather than help consumers, it hinders healthy choices.” – Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, obesity expert and nutritional watchdog.

Click here to email the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s staff, board and advisors and ask them to fix Health Check. It’ll only take a sec (customizing the email a little is encouraged though).

See this post for more details.

Can You Trust the Health Check Logo on Your Food?

by Kapil Khatter on December 16, 2012

Health Check says some fast food chicken sandwiches are good for youThe Harvey’s fast food chain has some burgers that are actually good for you according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. The foundation’s Health Check program puts reassuring-looking check marks on grocery and restaurant foods they consider to be healthy eating, and four Harvey’s meals now have stamps of approval.

I admit I feel a little dazzled by all the protein in the Harvey’s grilled chicken sandwich with salad, sporting its “multi-grain” bun and carrying a polite 7 grams of fat. But at 950 milligrams of salt in one sandwich combo, it doesn’t look the part of healthy eating. The foundation’s own recommendation is to have only 1,500 milligrams of salt a day but surprisingly the combo still gets a Health Check.­

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The Myth About Brand Name Drugs

by Kapil Khatter on December 3, 2012

Generic naproxen sodiumThere is an ongoing campaign to convince health care providers, decision-makers and the public that generic medications cannot be trusted and that if you want the real goods you need to pay the brand-name price.

Yet another patient told me this week that she was switched from an affordable generic medication to a more expensive brand name, warned that generics are lousy copies and should not be trusted. I have heard the argument myself when unable to tiptoe past the “drug rep” dropping off free samples, or when stomach rumblings have landed me at the lunch talk by a specialist getting side income from a drug company speakers bureau.

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