Essays About Health Behavior


Why personalized junk food ads are hard to resist

What could be more beautiful, irresistible or dangerous than our own name? Forget scents wafting from packages and promises of zen moments. Personalization might be the most powerful weapon at a food advertiser’s disposal. According to psychologists, humans are unconsciously attracted to things that remind us of ourselves. It’s called “implicit egotism.” It’s why an […]

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Understanding the gluten-free backlash

A couple of weeks ago I discovered that the source of my yearlong discomfort is celiac disease. Which apparently makes other people uncomfortable. In fact, dealing with other people’s reactions to my new diagnosis has been harder than actually going gluten-free. Which is saying a lot, because finding gluten-free foods has been anything but easy. Escaping […]

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The secret to exercise: practice makes addict

David McRaney is a curator of examples of irrational behavior. They’re almost always applicable to health habits, especially exercise—because few aspects of American life expose our irrationality quite like exercise. We need to do it in order to survive. We don’t do it. A few months ago, McRaney posed this question on Facebook: “Have you ever devoted many […]

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What’s your fitness identity?

I read an article the other day about how eating healthy is more important than exercising because you can’t “outrun a bad diet.” But I hate reading articles like this, because the truth is we need both, so it’s a stupid comparison in the first place. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet, but no amount […]

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Women ride Tour de France… for a day?

One of the cool things about sports is that they’re a perfect arena for uncovering and challenging culturally imposed gender limitations. Kathrine Switzer famously snuck into the 1967 Boston Marathon, registering under a man’s name, and became the first woman to run it. She was attacked by the race director, but finished anyway, and the physiological grounds for barring […]

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Skepticism is not an excuse to ignore your health

“First of all come great dreams, then a feeling of laziness, and finally a witty or clever excuse for remaining in bed.” – Kierkegaard A few years ago, I interviewed Pamela Peeke for a U.S. News piece about exercise. I’ll never forget our conversation. She had a husky voice and swore like a trucker, and I liked […]

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How to stick with healthy habits when you’d rather dip Doritos in cottage cheese and watch Netflix every night

When life gets you down, it tends to get your health habits down, too. Which brings me to a point I’d like to make on this blog: I’m not one of those health writers who flaunts perfection. In fact, I’m probably one of the most hedonistic people you’ll ever meet. Italian restaurant instead of cooking at […]

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Why are health magazines dumbing down content for women?

Is popular women’s health content written for today’s modern woman… or Barbie? Among the web and print pages of chick health media, there’s a conspicuously high volume of pink. There’s also Hollywood gossip, beauty advice and ample sex tips — which often figure more prominently than health advice. I noticed all this before stumbling upon the Shape website last week, which managed, in one 4-second homepage load, […]

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We put too much faith in health guidelines

This week, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gave a lecture at the University of Utah on “Science as a Way of Knowing.” He cautioned against the devaluing of science in our society, and everyone had a laugh at a slide that showed many Americans still rejecting the theory of evolution. In the face of scientific evidence! […]

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McDonald’s Photoshopped burger video went viral, but we’re still eating this s***

So McDonald’s advertisement burger is Photoshopped. This is old news online, and to anyone who’s eaten an actual McDonald’s burger. Yet, despite publicly airing the fact that its ad burger is both digitally altered and made from completely different ingredients, McDonald’s is still flipping more burgers than any other fast food chain. In fact, people seemed […]

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