Trump names Dr. Oz to nutrition, fitness council

Nomination criticized as Dr. Oz has often abandoned scientific truths in his medical advice.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

May 7, 2018

2 Min Read
Trump names Dr. Oz to nutrition, fitness council
Cindy Ord Stringer Getting Images Entertainment

President Donald Trump said he intends to nominate Dr. Mehmet Oz (Dr. Oz) and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to his President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition (PCSFN).

PCSFN engages, educates and empowers all Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition. Since 1956, the council has created and promoted programs and initiatives that motivate people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to be active and eat healthy, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website.

PCSFN is made up of athletes, chefs, physicians, fitness professionals and educators who are appointed by the President and serve in an advisory capacity through the secretary of health and human services.

However, the addition of Dr. Oz, a controversial TV “doctor,” sparked some concerns because of what critics say is unscientific advice given on his show. In 2015, a group of 10 physicians from across the country emailed a letter to Columbia University expressing disapproval that Oz is on the faculty.

Kevin Folta, professor of plant physiology and molecular biology at the University of Florida, said it is “dangerous to place someone like Dr. Oz in any position of authority.” Folta noted that PCSFN has an important mission, and the website does aim to provide sound advice.

“Letting Oz, a guy with bad/dangerous ideas, near the program is just dangerous,” Folta said. “He makes decisions and statements without scientific backing, he does nothing about the literature (just his beliefs) and spreads a lot of false hope and misinformation.”

Folta concluded, “He’s not a good candidate for this position, which should be strictly science based.”

Trump also announced his intent to appoint former bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, famous for playing the Hulk in the television show "The Incredible Hulk" in the 1970s and '80s, and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick to the council for two-year terms.

Trump nominated former baseball pitcher Mariano Rivera, Olympic volleyball player Misty May-Treanor and track star Herschel Junior Walker to serve as the co-chairs.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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