Tackling health misinformation one story at a time

Featured Story:

My mission is to challenge health misinformation by improving knowledge translation from research to clinicians and patients.

Health misinformation is pervasive and harmful. Roughly 36% of US adults have basic or below basic health literacy levels and up to 96% of individuals use at least 1 unaccredited…


It’s one of the most valuable documents on my computer.

Petegar from Getty Images

I am the National Director of Research for one of the largest physical therapy practices in the united states. Here are my accomplishments in a span of four years in the role:

Prior to the role, I was rejected from half of the physical therapy schools I applied to and I did not get the only promotion I have formally applied for. My side projects aren’t faring any better. …


‘Chosen for further distribution’ has lost its allure

grinvalds from Getty Images, edited by author

Since the new ‘chosen for further distribution’ model was introduced, I have curated every story I have published. My rate was not that high previously.

The current model doesn’t have the same sense of accomplishment. I remember when I received my first curation email last summer. I filled with immense excitement (see image above). The elation didn’t last long.

The resulting views were less than impressive.

While curation did help expand the reach, it was not a guarantee, or the sole determinant, of success.

That importance has waned further.

Now, I view curation as the norm. I am not intending…


May has been my best month ever on Medium

Diy13 from Getty Images

When facing a situation you are pissed about you have two options: complain and blame or adapt and grow.

I choose the latter.

I live my life by the philosophy of silver linings — always find the positive in a situation. My Medium journey has been filled with silver linings. Missing out on the $500 bonus is no different.

Seeing the plethora of stories, Facebook comments, and emails from top writers I follow was a series of gut punches. Why didn’t I get the $500?

It’s simple. I didn’t earn it.

Feedback is a gift

I’ve had a couple of decent performing articles and…


The new CDC masks guidelines do not mean the pandemic is over

Photo by Maxime on Unsplash

The law of unintended consequences is about to have a field day.

On May 13th, the CDC announced their new guidelines for wearing masks.

Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

The CDC is recommending fully vaccinated people still wear a mask in crowded, enclosed areas, such as a bus or place. In most cases, however, a vaccine is a ticket to a mask-free life.

At least that is how it is supposed to…


The disrespect needs to stop

Imageegami from Getty Images

My son’s appointment was scheduled for 11 am. Apparently, this was more of a rough suggestion.

At 11:30, I’m finally allowed into the building — COVID-19 protocols required me to sit in my car until the room was ready.

At 11:50, I make it to the treatment room (so much for the room being ready).

At 12:20, I see the athletic trainer (it’s an orthopedic office).

At 12:40, we get the x-rays.

At 1:00, we see the doctor.

It didn’t matter that the physician was phenomenal. He was thorough, attentive, personable, and answered all of my questions.

I am unlikely…


No, lifting weights will not stunt their growth

FatCamera from Getty Images

There are many myths regarding exercise floating around the internet and healthcare. One of the biggest ones is children should not lift weights.

Let’s get this out of the way early: lifting weights does not stunt growth.

One research review article pooled the results of 16 studies — including 1008 children age 7–12 years old — and found weight training had no impact on a child’s height. Studies do show, however, reduced fat mass, improved cardiovascular and metabolic health, and greater bone mineral density.

Conclusion: let kids lift weights.

Research is clear that resistance training is safe and effective for…


I had the content but lacked the passion and the audience to gain traction

Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash

Should I stay within a niche or expand my writing topics?

Depending on which “here’s how to make oodles of money on Medium” articles you read, the suggestion will differ.

I primarily write about health and medical research. My personal mission is to reduce health misinformation and help people make informed decisions about their health and wellness. I will stray into other topics, however.

I enjoy writing about my personal journey, professional growth strategies, and books.

Some articles come easier than others. Some topics are more enjoyable to write while others stretch my abilities.

The past two years (the duration…


Thank you for letting me know about the link. It has been corrected in the article. Here it is:

https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/42/15/1499/6213772

As for the limitations, I agree and that is the nature of an observational study. You are spot on with the education and income findings.

Funding was provided by the Capital Region of Copenhagen, The Danish Heart Foundation, The Danish Lung Association, Velux Foundation, and Lundbeck Foundation.

The primary point of the research paper and my article is manual labor is not a replacement for structured exercise. Granted, research is never one-size-fits-all.

There is a difference between constant physical activity and intentional activity with specified intensity levels and rests breaks.


The physical activity paradox continues to challenge healthcare providers

JK78 from Getty Images

Life is busy. Fitting exercise into life can feel like a game of Tetris.

When my second child was born, my workouts shifted from 45–60 minute heavy lifting (squat, deadlift, press, and row) to 10–20 minute high-intensity interval training. I am fortunate to have a home gym that eliminates travel time.

That is not a universal luxury.

Yes, exercise should be prioritized, but exercise is not the only priority. Work and family are priorities as well.

I often see articles assuring people of easy ways to squeeze in physical activity throughout the day. Go on a walk during scheduled phone…

Zachary Walston

A physical therapist tackling health misinformation | Elemental, Better Humans, The Startup, The Ascent, Mind Cafe | https://www.zacharywalston.com/subscribe

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store