The Scoop: Quackwatch is an informational website founded by a doctor who wanted to make relevant medical information available to people everywhere. Dr. Stephen Barrett has spent over 50 years researching effective healthcare practices and now uses his extensive knowledge to debunk health myths and quack products. Couples can read through Quackwatch’s award-winning resources to learn how to spot misinformation and maintain a healthy lifestyle based on proven science.
At 85, Dr. Stephen Barrett is still an active competitive swimmer. In 2018, he set six state records in his home state of North Carolina and won three gold medals in world senior swimming competitions.
Swimming regularly has enabled Stephen to stay strong and fit well into his 80s. He credits his longevity to a combination of his athletic swimming career and his wife’s cooking. Throughout their marriage, she has helped him keep his diet on track and lead a long, happy, and healthy life.
“I’m fortunate my wife is a gourmet health cook and preps very healthy meals,” he said. “One of the reasons I’m still alive is that she’s done such a good job of feeding me.”
Significant others can play a vital role in one another’s health. Research shows that married couples enjoy many health benefits, including being less likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack and being more likely to survive cancer. Couples have the ability to keep each other on a healthy path, but they have to know how to stay on track and not be misled by false information.
Dr. Stephen Barrett’s website Quackwatch can help with that. Quackwatch debunks potentially harmful health myths and health-related frauds in informative, research-driven articles.
For over 50 years, Stephen has shared his medical knowledge with the general public and made an effort to discredit the quackery prevalent around the world. He currently runs 24 health-related websites where he counters many false claims made about autism, chiropractic therapy, dentistry, and other relevant subject matters. Founded in 1996, Quackwatch is the ultimate healthcare watchdog keeping an eye out for the consumer and sniffing out fallacies and misconduct in the health industry.
“I have faith in the idea that if you make a sustained effort to live a healthy lifestyle, on average you will come out ahead,” Stephen said. “I wouldn’t trust anything that promises to make it easy to lose weight or stay healthy — because it doesn’t work like that.”
Ferreting Out Misleading Claims About Health Products
As a doctor and health advocate, Stephen has spent decades reading medical studies, researching health topics, and building a case against the quacks of the world. His research library includes more than 5,000 books and 100,000 documents. He himself has written, co-authored, and/or edited more than 52 books on the subject of health and has been interviewed by more than 200 radio and television shows.
Stephen understands the ins and outs of good health, and he has dedicated himself to sharing as much information as possible so people without medical degrees can still make sound health decisions.
Quackwatch is a not-for-profit effort to reveal and quash the unethical marketing tactics used for quack products and services. The website accepts donations to help it meet operation costs of about $5,000 per year.
Quackwatch offers clear, easy-to-understand information in an industry often made murky by misinformation and false promises. Stephen’s trustworthy website teaches readers how to spot quackery and identifies questionable products, services, and theories ranging from acupuncture to weight-control gimmicks.
“The underlying principle is you have to have the right balance of skepticism and trust,” Stephen said. “If you know how to judge who’s trustworthy, you’ll do fine.”
In addition to discrediting medical frauds, Quackwatch recommends organizations that share its data-driven approach to health. Its list of reliable organizations includes dozens of government-funded agencies and nonprofits with unblemished reputations. Stephen started building this list over 40 years ago and has given his seal of approval to hundreds of organizations around the world.
The Doctor’s Advice: Be Skeptical & Do Your Research
The internet is full of information, but not all of it is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Some individuals and organizations use the web to spread misinformation that can lead people to buy products they don’t need or subscribe to services that don’t actually work. This is not only unethical; it can be incredibly harmful to lie to someone with a serious medical condition.
Quack products may promise to relieve pain, remove symptoms, improve sexual performance, and provide other amazing benefits, and they deceive vulnerable patients into believing in a medical miracle with no foundation in science. Stephen advises people to beware of health care products and treatments that seem too good to be true.
A little research can usually unravel this web of lies, and Quackwatch has done a lot of research into hundreds of questionable organizations, products, and treatments. He said dietary supplements and herbal remedies are among the most problematic products. Some are useful, but most are not. These products represent billion-dollar industries that turn a profit by convincing people to buy into things they don’t need.
“Products with sensational claims aren’t likely to be valid,” Stephen concluded. “When it comes to choosing a health practitioner, be cautious and be aware. You can find trustworthy individuals to rely upon by looking at the science and seeing who agrees with it.”
Couples Should Discuss These Weighty Topics Early On
Couples can reinforce each other’s good habits and hold each other accountable for maintaining a proper diet and exercise regimen. They have the ability to impact each other’s long-term health through their everyday actions. Simple things like cooking more meals at home or going out for a run together on the weekends can improve a couple’s overall health and happiness.
Of course, couples must agree with one another’s health perspective if they’re going to support each other’s health goals in the long run. That’s why it’s important to discuss these things early on in a relationship. You don’t want to discover a few years into your marriage that your partner doesn’t believe in taking prescribed medications or vaccinating children. Such a divisive argument could lead couples into a messy divorce and a bitter custody battle.
“I don’t think there’s any room for compromise on these issues,” Stephen said. “If you have a major disagreement about basic health strategies, you may want to think very carefully about if that’s the right person — because those kinds of battles can doom a relationship.”
Quackwatch can equip you to start constructive conversations with a partner about controversial health topics, including alternative medicines, vitamin supplements, homeopathy, and immunization. You can do your research and make sure you have your facts straight when making a case to your significant other.
If your partner is making questionable claims about health, you can use Quackwatch to refute his or her argument using proven medical research. That way, your health conversations can be less emotional and more fact-based.
Quackwatch Improves the Quality of Health Information
Backed by a lifetime of medical research, Dr. Stephen Barrett has established himself as a notable authority in the healthcare industry, and he practices what he preaches. He has taken good care of himself (wisely eating his wife’s home-cooked healthy meals) and led a long and productive life.
When couples are on the same page about health, they can lay the foundation for a fruitful life together. Quackwatch is on a mission to inform the public and empower them to make good decisions when it comes to health care for themselves and their families.
Anyone looking for reliable medical information can use Quackwatch’s resources to separate the truth from the nonsense and come up with a health plan that will work.
“The most important thing people can do to stay healthy is eat right and exercise,” Dr. Stephen said. “A healthy lifestyle doesn’t take a lot of training — it’s actually really simple in concept — it’s just a matter of making the right decisions and avoiding being misled.”