Dear Celebrities: It’s time we left the medical advice to the professionals.

Update:

Olympian Stephanie Rice has deleted a Facebook status where she offered to share health and medical advice with her fans after receiving criticism for her lack of credentials.

Rice – who is currently promoting her e-book The Art of Wellness – posted the original status on Friday night.

Overnight, Rice posted another status saying that her intentions came from a “positive place”:

 

stephanie rice facebook

 

Mamamia previously wrote… 

Please stop using your profile to dish out health and medical advice.

Whether it’s high profile sporting stars or chefs with “health coach diplomas” dishing out advice, or Hollywood heavyweights like Gwyneth Paltrow, Phoebe Tonkin or Theresa Palmer whose influential ‘health, wellness and lifestyle’ websites are visited by thousands of readers each month, it’s time for celebrities to get back to what they’re famous for (such as writing, acting and cooking) and leave the medical advice to those with a university degree.

It should go without saying, but it’s worth repeating: medicine is something that should only be practised by people who have only spent 5+ years studying the ins-and-outs of the human body and have completed hundreds of hours worth of placement.

Sadly, it seems Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice is the latest ‘celebrity’ to join the bandwagon of media personalities who give their fans health and medical advice, despite the fact that she has no relevant qualifications.

teph rice walking
She may be a former Olympian but she isn’t a doctor. Image via Instagram.

Being a former Olympian, it is fair to assume that Rice knows a thing or two about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, however that doesn’t mean she has the authority to share medical opinions with her fans.

Rice informed her followers on Friday that she would to be hosting a “Q & A on anything health-related” later that night before proceeded to answer questions from people who had a variety of enquiries relating to injuries, illnesses and health advice. Rice was promoting her new e-book, called “The Art of Wellness (Simplifying Holistic Health)”.

Some of the responses that came from Rice, included telling one of her fans to avoid undergoing a MRI scan as “MRIs have a lot of radiation which is really bad for your system.” 

Rice was later asked by another Facebook fan what she would recommend for a persistent cough.

“I would recommend you cutting out dairy … it is very inflammatory! I recommend cutting out milk in particular for a few days and see how you feel … any type of illness in your body means that you aren’t in alignment — so something you are doing isn’t working.

“That could be stress, over exercise, under exercise, not eating enough health foods,” Rice wrote.

facebook q&a
Stephanie Rice held a Q&A on her Facebook page on Friday. Image via Facebook.

Not only is it concerning that people are using the internet to seek medical advice, but when they are receiving the “answers” they’re looking for from unqualified media personalities, serious consequences could follow.

“It is concerning that anyone in a position of power in the public eye can give advice like this online,” Dr Saxon Smith, President of the AMA NSW recently told NewsCorp.

“There is the potential for a mis-diagnosis or misinformation which can lead to poor health outcomes.”

Rice has responded to criticism about her Q&A on Twitter today, saying: “You know, it always baffles me why media always try to turn stories into a negative. Guess just doing anything they can to sell a story.”

She followed up by saying, “I hope to share my insights with people to in some way help them. That’s why fulfills me the most out of everything I do – and I understand that in sharing I open myself up to outside criticism. Not everyone will like me, but that’s impossible anyway – better to be true to myself.”

Rice’s passion for helping others is laudable, and no doubt she has insights about exercise and training to share, but when that advice wanders into recommending treatment for a medical issue or dissuading people from the treatment and advice offered by their medical professionals, she contributes to a dangerous culture of avoiding medical treatment in favour of unscientific remedies.

Her success as an athlete and a business woman should be celebrated – but medical advice needs to come from professionals and attempting to circumvent that is dangerous.

What do you think?

lol
happy
love
wow
sad
angry

Join the Conversation