To Eat or Not to Eat??


To Lose Weight, Eating Less Is Far More Important Than Exercising More by Aaron E. Carroll is a simple article that takes a spin on the whole exercise movement.  For my class I have seceded to try to switch up where I get articles from in order to fully enjoy the digital world.  I review TED Talks last week and I decided on newspaper articles this week.  This article from the New York Times was a straight forward informative piece on one individual’s idea of why exercising should not necessarily be the only factor in weight loss.  Again, using Jason Ohler’s assessment traits I came up with three categories in which to comment on this writing.

Flow, organization, pacing (Score 1-10: 9 Points)

Information presented makes logical sequential sense; story pace is easy to follow.

The pace of this article was almost too simplified.  It had an attention grabbing heading and not much substance to the overall theme.  There was a definite ease to reading this because the author laid out his idea’s very clearly. I originally printed this article and was disappointed their was a lack of scientific findings.  Upon reviewing the article one more time before I wrote this, I realized the author had embedded links that connected all of his research to the article.  I am surprised that when someone prints a paper article there is no indication that a hyperlink is attached to a word or phrase.

Digital craftsmanship (Score 1-10: 7 Points)

Mastery of media: use media is appropriate, well-crafted, and supports the story. Media application is free of errors.

There were no errors that I found on this article.  I was impressed by the number of links provided from the author to support his claims.There were also not many facts for there to be errors on.  The inclusion of a graph or pie chart showing more detail of what the author was talking about would have really enforced the words he was saying.

Problem solving and innovation (Score 1-10: 5 Points)

Obstacles to presentation and access to story overcome. Creative use of media that demonstrates innovation.

The author writes blogs on health research and is also on Twitter.  I plan on following him on Twitter to see what sort of other article he has come up with.  There was nothing creative the author spoke about.  I was surprised to see at the end of the article he did finally give some recognition to the benefits of exercising.  At the end of his article he reaffirmed that exercising doesn’t necessarily lead to weight loss.  This might be a true statement but his “problem solving” logic was eating less and I personally do not think that is enough.  Sometimes having a healthy medium is better than discrediting the benefits or drawbacks to working out.

Total Score: 21 /30

Other characteristics this assessment fails to capture:/How could this digital story be improved?

The use of scientific data did not necessarily aid in the credibility of the author.  Although there was many embedded links, I would wager to guess that not many individuals reading this article bothered clicking on them.  The mention of several “reviews” throughout the article left me wanting more.  There was no actual numbers that the author used to back up his claim.  Connecting an idea with a hyperlink doesn’t mean it is supporting what you as an author is saying  This article came off as a weakly argued opinion to me.  The Pediatric Professor, who wrote this, seemed interested in proving that exercise does not do much.  He appeared more interested in talking about how much better it would be if people just ate less.  While this may be true his points were not necessarily backed up by empirical evidence.  I would have liked to see more of a rational behind his claims.

Also, I feel like this article in a way was “dumbed down.”  I noticed this story was the most “emailed” or recommended article of the day and that shocked me.  The overly simplistic writing coupled and lack of evidence used in the writing did not inform me as a consumer of anything I did not already know.  This read is a skip for me.  The New York Times disappointed me with this one.

2 thoughts on “To Eat or Not to Eat??

  1. Lisa Dise says:

    I like that you’re switching up the type of digital stories your critiquing, good idea!

    I agree with you that the pace of this article seems off. The further down I read the more bored I got. I actually skipped some paragraphs in hopes of reading something more interesting. I was never interested in clicking on his source links, they just didn’t appeal to me.

    He does mention the television show “The Biggest Loser”, which is, in a sense, a digital story. It’s a story of a set of Americans trying to lose weight. He says that the show emphasizes too much on the exercise portion and not enough on nutrition. What he fails to mention is that watching people eat quinoa, broccoli and kale doesn’t make for good TV and probably wouldn’t make any money for the network. Watching someone struggle, physically and emotionally with exercise captures more of an audience for this type of story.

    You ask “To eat or not to eat?”… EAT! Everything in moderation is my motto!


    • anniemelzer says:

      I completely agree. The biggest loser (although very into product placement)is at least more well rounded then this argument. Better food and more exercise is not a very difficult concept. I think the show is entertaining because they pull on heart strings and actually help a lot of people. Very amateur article though in my opinion, especially for a blogger.


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