ANAHEIM, CA – Public health researchers have published the results of a new study which sought to objectively measure the quality of medical advice given by two daytime television shows: Doc McStuffins and The Dr. Oz Show.
The researchers watched five episodes of each show, and evaluated the validity of each claim made on the shows. Each individual claim was rated on a scale of 5 (“strongly supported by the literature”) to -5 (“directly contradicted by the literature”), with 0 representing “insufficient data to support or refute the claim.” When the results were tallied, and an average score was calculated, the result was clear. With a score of 0.57 to -3.73, Doc McStuffins was clearly the more science-based show.
Lead investigator, Dr. Linda Foster, says the numbers reflect overall trends in the types of claim made by each show. “While Doc McStuffins explores rare diseases, like Filthy Icky Sticky Disease and Pipe-a-cloggity-crackity-tentacle-osis, that don’t have much published data, she never makes a claim directly contradicted by the literature.”
“Dr. Oz, on the other hand, frequently makes overreaching claims about dubious treatments, in spite of published data refuting his claims.” When asked what factual statements Dr. Oz has made on his show, Dr. Foster paused to think. “The only examples I can recall are ‘My name is Dr. Oz,’ and ‘That’s all the time we have for today.’ Those seemed to be supported by facts.”
More important than the numbers, however, are the general themes of the show, says Dr. Foster. “While Doc McStuffins generally doesn’t give specific medical advice, she supports general principles of preventive medicine, including regular checkups, handwashing, and a healthy diet. The Dr. Oz philosophy seems to be finding magic cures and miracle pills, which is not how healthcare works.”
Unfortunately, this study comes in the wake of the recent forced resignation of Doc McStuffins and cancellation of her show. “Ultimately, these shows are driven by ratings, not by quality,” says Dr. Foster.
“Their success comes from entertainment, at the cost of science and facts. We need more trustworthy sources, like Doc McStuffins, if we want to promote trust in the evidence-based medical community. Let’s start a petition to get her hired again!”