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  • Writer's pictureDr. Francis Battisti & Dr. Helen Battisti

Copy of The Zone - Volume 128

How do I find the source?

Some of you may be familiar with the T.V. show, Mr. Ed, either when it was aired during the mid-sixties or today while it is in syndication. The show is about a talking horse and the theme song challenges you to go to the source for the correct information.

“A horse is a horse, of course, of course,

And no one can talk to a horse of course

That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse

He’ll give you the answer that you’ll endorse.

He is always on a steady course.

Talk to Mr. Ed.”

Sometimes finding the original source can be perplexing and time consuming, however it is essential to be able to trust the information that you are seeking.

Over the past month, we have noticed a few articles and reports that while having valuable information, the reporting was confusing. We are choosing to address this because, with the start of the New Year being traditionally a time of reflection on our physical, mental, spiritual and financial health, it is important to remember that even reliable sources can not only confuse us but also potentially lead us in the wrong direction.

The first example is addressing childhood obesity. The American Academy of Pediatric (AAP) recently released recommendations and guidelines addressing the increasing weight of our children here in the United States. The key action statements, in summary, are:

  • Comprehensive obesity treatment may include nutrition support, physical activity treatment, behavioral therapy, pharmacotherapy, and metabolic and bariatric surgery.

  • Intensive health behavior and lifestyle treatment (IHBLT).

  • Evidence-based treatment delivered by trained health care professionals with active parent or caregiver involvement can result in less disordered eating.

  • Physicians should offer adolescents ages 12 years and older with obesity weight loss pharmacotherapy, according to medication indications, risks, and benefits, as an adjunct to health behavior and lifestyle treatment.

  • Teens age 13 and older with severe obesity should be evaluated for metabolic and bariatric surgery.

What we found confusing was the reporting seemed to emphasize pharmacotherapy and metabolic and bariatric surgery as the primary interventions made by the AAP. When we read the recommendations, our understanding is the AAP is recommending pharmacotherapy and metabolic and bariatric surgery as the last intervention. We believe this is an important clarification because the primary focus of the AAP report provided specific intervention for parents and professionals separate from pharmacotherapy and metabolic and bariatric surgery.

Another example of confusing reporting is the published articles that addressed hydration. The first article states, “being sufficiently hydrated has been linked with a lower risk of developing chronic diseases, dying early or being biologically older than your chronological age, according to a study.” We naturally had to investigate further. One can only imagine the alarm that was sounded by so many. Shortly thereafter an updated article was published, by the same source, which corrected the grammatical error, as well as the findings of the study and now stated, “drinking enough water is also associated with a significantly lower risk of developing chronic diseases, a lower risk of dying early or lower risk of being biologically older than your chronological age, according to a National Institutes of Health study”. The corrected article can be found at,

Our final example has to do with reporting on the Mediterranean Diet. Various sources, for many years, have encouraged us to follow this diet because of its positive effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health. While this has been correct in the past, today following the current Mediterranean Diet is producing some of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world. This is because the diet that was originally identified as the Mediterranean Diet included such foods as fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil. In 2018 the World Health Organization reported that the increasing childhood obesity “… is due to the loss of the traditional Mediterranean Diet patterns in the south and to the increased intake of sugars and energy dense foods combined with particularly low levels of physical activity.” This article can be found at

This past summer while visiting Francis’s father’s hometown in Carpineto Romano, Italy, after a four year hiatus, we witnessed this phenomena. Carpineto Romano is a small mountainous town, about 45 miles from Rome, with no fast-food chains or mini-marts located nearby.

These are examples of why it is important to going to the source before implementing changes in your lifestyle. Mistakes can be made, whether intentional or not. However, they can have lasting impact on us.


Key Takeaways

  • Mistakes can be made.

  • Don’t always take things at face value.

  • If something does not seem correct, pursue it.

Best Practices

  • Following more than one trusted source, can be helpful.

  • Keep updated.

  • If you have a question, pursue the primary source as compared to the reporting one.

Things to Limit

  • Entertainment health reporting

  • Outdated research.

  • Using social media as your primary care


Quote of the Week

“In journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right.”

~Ellen Goodman


Keeping updated with the latest health developments is an important component of self-care. As we move forward with our plans for 2023, it is also important to ensure that the information we take in is timely and correct.

Be well,

The paraDocs

Check our Welcome Greeting on YouTube

The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.

We have developed "The ZONE", because that is exactly where you want to be during this pandemic. A place of focused attention to doing exactly what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a nationally distributed weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.

If you would like to get copies of The ZONE that you may have missed or if you know someone that would like to start receiving The ZONE, please signup today... It's free and you can unsubscribe anytime.

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