Prevention Magazine

My parents subscribed to Prevention  back in the early years and later gave me a subscription. Mother found it useful for such things as combating migraines (July 1980); “A Case of Calcium Imbalance” January 1981; “I’m Winning My Fight Against Arthritis,” (February 1983); “Simple Ways to Keep Back Pain Out of Your Life” (June 1983).

I stopped reading when I found the contents more like Glamour than a serious health and nutrition magazine. There was also a sense of deja vu (can’t find the accents) as articles began to recycle. I recently took a look at the July 2011 issue. It certainly looks like a mini Glamour — that is TV-Guide sized pages, with a pretty woman in tight sweaters and tighter jeans on the cover. Turns out it was “Marie Osmond: How She’s Kept Off 40 lbs For 4 Years!” Other articles seemed more glam-mag, too. “Get Thin by Friday!” “10-Minute Cellulite Cure.”

After reading a selection of articles, my opinion has not changed. Small notes on beauty included a “frizz fixer” to keep hair from “escaping” from buns and ponytails; instructions for applying eyeliner. What exactly are these preventing? Also unchanging is the weak demarcation between ads and content – in many cases ads for things that don’t quite fit, e.g. Ellen DeGeneres hyping Cover Girl. Or an article with photos of frozen desserts that looked like ads for Breyers, Stonyfield, etc. Those meldings would be preventing the unwary from figuring out what they are reading.

On the plus side, “Don’t Get Surgery in July …” should be required reading for all doctors, nurses, etc. I knew the answer before I started the piece: It’s because new interns and residents arrive on 7/1 or thereabouts. By August, they’ve stopped making the worst mistakes. The rest of the article is equally informative, suggesting that patients bring their own meds to the hospital and ask for the second or third slot for surgery on any day but Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Prevention here is obvious: death or disfigurement.

Elsewhere, Prevention offered useful information on, and a condemnation of, the Dukan diet, which limits intake to oat bran, water, and at least 48 ounces (?!) of lean protein a day; contained a frightening statistic that 48 percent of doctors’ neckties are contaminated by bacteria. The recipes are a whole lot more interesting, and have veered away from the strictly veggie themes that I remember. My repertoire will soon include Basque-style shrimp with dried orange rind, bay leaf, various forms of chili and chiles, basil, oregano, etc. Prevention of boredom!

Some of the useful info was stuff I already knew. For example, I’d figured out that drinking water when pollen is high can help clear airways. A tip to that effect confirmed my experience. Prevention of suffering is always a good thing.

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