Dr. Mehmet Oz - the disgraced celebrity doctor from the 2018 Emmy Award-winning Doctor Oz Show - has been appointed by President Trump to the administration's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.
Keeping Dr. Oz company on the council, which promotes "regular physical activity and good nutrition," are a few other celebrities, including the New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
The Trump administration has announced the council will be refocused on youth sports participation which has "declined over the last decade, particularly among young girls and children from economically distressed communities."
Fox and Friends called it "a dream team" that would help American get into shape.
But a "doctor" who has spent years misleading the public on health issues now advising the White House on children's health is a nightmare – not an ideal.
When appointing people to science and health advisory positions in his government, President Trump has never been one to prioritize expertise.
According to an Associated Press analysis released late last year, almost 60 percent of Trump's nominees in science-related positions did not have an advanced degree in science or health.
But a degree is only one way of judging proficiency, and Dr. Oz is proof of this.
While the celebrity doctor does, in fact, have a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, this does not make him in any way qualified for the new position.
In fact, Dr. Oz has been disqualifying himself from such a position for years.
A 2014 study found that of the 479 health recommendations given on The Dr. Oz Show, only half of them were actually supported by evidence. The rest were just pure magical thinking.
"Anyone who followed the advice provided would be doing so on the basis of a trust in the host or guest rather than through a balanced explanation of benefits, harms, and costs," the authors of the study wrote.
President Trump's decision to appoint Dr. Oz to a council focused primarily on children's physical health is seriously worrying. Especially because Dr. Oz's track record on weight loss and diet (two topics that he is particularly passionate about) is so pathetic.
In 2014, the claims that Dr. Oz was making were so harmful and egregious that he was asked to testify in front of a Senate subcommittee about his false and deceptive advertising for weight-loss products.
In the past, Dr. Oz has also told his audience that vaccines cause autism and other illnesses, despite the fact that this claim has been debunked multiple times by the scientific community.
And, of course, he has continuously used his platform to elevate the unsubstantiated opinions of vaccine deniers and pseudoscientists.
Yet, on Twitter this week, Dr. Oz claimed that his organization, HealthCorps, supports "the best practices" for children's health - a difficult pill to swallow after years of Dr. Oz doing the exact opposite.
I've been supporting children's health programs with @HealthCorps and appreciate the need to improve lifestyle opportunities for our youth. Serving on @FitnessGov offers a platform to amplify the best practices shown to work across our school systems. https://t.co/dOgapXQinI— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) May 4, 2018
Dr. Oz's history of malpractice is available on the internet for anyone who cares to find it.
Those who give the search results even a mere cursory glance will know that this is not exactly the sort of "doctor" that should be advising the US government on children's health.
But clearly, President Trump isn't interested in evidence-based health policy. Last year, his administration began softening and rolling back several rules from Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative, which also sought to improve health, nutrition and fitness among American youth.
Experts have credited Michelle Obama's initiative for at least some of the recent decline in childhood obesity rates.
Nevertheless, the Trump administration has relaxed rules for reduced sodium use in school lunches, and they have also waived rules that required the use of at least 50 percent whole grain, and the serving of nonfat milk over 1 percent.
Furthermore, they have pushed back the decision on a label for "added sugar" that was proposed by Michelle Obama, and they've delayed a mandatory calorie count in restaurants.
Let's also not forget that President Trump has ignored the Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition for well over an entire year.
Maybe the Trump administration was waiting on a "magic weight-loss cure" from Dr. Oz.
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