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Cancer Communication Research Center
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Recent headlines have been inundated with a new recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Task Force suggesting that healthy men should not undergo prostate cancer screening. I also recently learned from a special nutrition issue of Time Magazine that when you take all the fat out of milk, you're left with too high a concentration of natural sugars, which interacts like candy with your hormones, especially insulin (directly quoted).

Recommendations for engaging in healthy behaviors are constantly evolving with the advancement of science and new knowledge. As researchers, we are trained in contributing to these advancements and building the evidence-base. As a regular consumer of information who may typically drink a glass of fat free milk, new, and almost conflicting health recommendations can be daunting for individuals trying to maintain healthy lifestyles. The many avenues in society through which information is disseminated further complicate the task of disentangling these messages.

Evolving health recommendations based on new examinations of the evidence increase the importance of communication between health practitioners and consumers. This need not be exclusive to clinicians, but also may encompass strengthening the capacity of community health workers and health educators. If the end goal entails assurance that people sustain healthy behaviors, two-way communication with the opportunity to build trust and rapport with someone, may be a better resource for people in the face of rapid mixed messaging.

Minal Patel
University of Michigan School of Public Health
2011 CCRC Doctoral Fellow

Written by CCRC at 13:03

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