Fitness journalism is more important than you think

In any journalism field, it’s easy to get sucked into a bubble were you speak to the reader as an expert. Chin Strapped is all about relaying the simplest of ideas about fitness.

Recently, I’ve read a number of reports and watched numerous pieces that are all well and good, but in the mind of the masses could be very confusing.

Bear with me.  Last month a report came out about vitamin D deficiency during winter months in the UK. It advised everyone to take supplements, especially pregnant women and so on… blah blah blah. All great stuff.

One Sky News commentator highlighted advice that sun cream prevents the body from absorbing vitamin D.

EXCUSE ME???

When this was broadcast I thought;

“You’ll now have a load of ginger Scousers walking around during heat waves picking up skin cancer,”

While sipping my coffee of course.  

Shortly before that, we had the FAT REPORT, urging people that low-fat diets are a pile of bollocks. It’s what we already knew, that fats aren’t the enemy and in moderation they’re actually pretty essential.

Grand, but the way this was reported in the mainstream media you’d have thought we should all laden our toast with copious amounts of butter, and eat lard from yoghurt pots for elevenses. *Don’t try this at home.*

There is of course a serious point here. To the average person who doesn’t know a great deal about fitness and nutrition, they will simplify a complicated study, and take what they want from it.

Not everyone submerses themselves in the world of healthy living like some of us in sports and wellbeing media do. Yet the gantlet lies with us to inform those who otherwise don’t have the in depth knowledge.

It’s no bad thing, I know nothing about finance, but I need to manage my money. So I look to the people who do know about it for advice.

Obesity costs Britain’s NHS about £45Bn every year, and telling someone who only watches one news bulletin a week and doesn’t look for more info that “fats are good” is rather irresponsible.

The wording needs to be careful, and we need to give ordinary people clear, and simple advice based on good knowledge and research.

I feel, and this is open to discussion, that some journalists and especially fitness journalists maybe don’t realise the enormous responsibility lying on their shoulders.

If one person who is tinkering on the verge of obesity reads one article or blog post that could be the ONE… SINGLE opportunity to pull them back from a potentially life threatening path.

For the same reason, I always stay clear of hassling people over their style of workouts. If they want my opinion, they’ll ask, but giving someone an earful because they do too much bench and not enough back work is counter-productive.

They enjoy what they’re doing, and they could easily be sitting at home eating doughnuts instead.

Remember, if you’re a blogger, Instagram-er, or professional fitness journalist, YOU have a responsibility not only to entertain, but to impart your knowledge, and encourage others… Put simply.

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