Wellness Bloggers and the Gaps in the Health System

I was approached by an ECU Daily journalist a couple of weeks ago in regards to the Popularity of controversial Wellness bloggers like Belle Gibson is a side-effect of major gaps in health system.

See below some insights I shared with Danielle Austin of ECU Daily:

How should Consumers approach Wellness Information on the internet?

  • Consumers should exercise a degree of care when looking for wellness information online. Whilst this is the predominant method of research for the vast majority of people these days, it is much harder to make a distinction on ‘what’s right for them’.

Where should people seek their medical information and how can they be sure that health information they read on the internet is not fraudulent?

  • Depends on the type of health information they are looking for. If due to a medical illness, they should consult their doctor or qualified health professional
  • Do research online to see if the website is supported by such institutions or purely commercial interests.
  • A good example of a credible site would be the Betterhealthchannel.vic.gov.au, which was created by the Victorian government. However, the user-friendliness of design and content could be improved significantly, and this is where a lot of credible sites are managing poorly. Consumers then take to other more ‘attractive’ sites by celebrities and big brands.

How should consumers approach celebrity endorsed diets/ health claims (e.g. Pete Evans Paleo for babies)?

  • Celebrities are entitled to their opinion on what products and services they wish to recommend. However, consumers should do a check that the health results are verified by independent scientific bodies, which determines the validity of those claims. Every person is an individual with individual needs in terms of diet, exercise, mental, social and environmental needs. They should consult qualified health professionals if they have specific health needs. They should also listen to their bodies in terms of any concerning symptoms, and consult a health professional.

How can cancer patients, and patients of other illnesses, find wellness programs to support them without giving them false medical information?

  • Patients with severe illness should ask their doctor, hospital or qualified health professional about wellness programs that are right for them. Some hospitals such as the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (affiliated with RPA) and Olivia Newton John Cancer Wellness centre in Melbourne (Austin Health), all are affiliated with hospitals.
  • In Perth there is the Solaris Care Centre which has provided good quality wellness care. They all have a good track record or providing care, support ongoing research and are affiliated with medical professionals in some way.

Read the full ECU Daily article here

How about you, what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share your comments and suggestions with me and the Energesse wellness community. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr Avnesh Ratnanesan
About the Author: Dr Avnesh Ratnanesan

Dr Avi is a medical doctor with broad healthcare sector experience including hospitals, biotech, pharmaceuticals and the wellness industry. He is a leading expert who coaches and consults to senior executives, entrepreneurs, practitioners, organisations and governments.



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