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North Carolina Threatens To Shut Down Nutrition Blogger 515

Posted by timothy
from the we-haff-veys-to-maek-you-schutt-down dept.
vvaduva writes "The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition is threatening to send a blogger to jail for recounting publicly his battle against diabetes and encouraging others to follow his lifestyle... the state diatetics and nutrition board decided [Steve] Cooksey's blog — Diabetes-Warrior.netviolated state law. The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to 'practicing nutrition,' the board's director says, and in North Carolina that's something you need a license to do." If applied consistently, I think this would also clear out considerable space from the average bookstore's health section. (And it could be worse; he could have been offering manicures.)
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North Carolina Threatens To Shut Down Nutrition Blogger

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  • by NormalVisual (565491) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:17AM (#39782227)
    Except the First Amendment *does* apply here, because it's been incorporated and thus applies to the states as well. [wikipedia.org]
  • by SirWhoopass (108232) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:29AM (#39782397)

    "Is he collecting cash?"

    Yes.

    Obviously we don't know all the details...

    Except that we do. Especially if we read the state board's findings linked from his site [diabetes-warrior.net] and the article (6.3MB PDF).

    The state board provides a print-out of his site with annotations. People write in with symptoms, he assess their situation and provides specific advice. The board makes it clear that his is counseling, which requires a license. The note that he could describe what he did (meals, fitness, etc), but soliciting questions and advising is what crosses the line.

    In addition, he offered consulting services ranging from $98 to $197 per month. These services included phone consultation and email Q&As.

    The state board didn't just drop the hammer out of no where. They reviewed his site and advised him that he could not offer nutrition consulting services without a license. Which is clearly what he was doing. He has chosen to ignore them and cry "free speech!".

  • by SirWhoopass (108232) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:42AM (#39782579)

    You are correct in that the First Amendment does apply to the states.

    I am not certain, however, that is applies to this situation. The summary is misleading. He was not merely blogging about what he did and encouraging others.

    He also diagnosing conditions and recommending treatment plans. And he was charging money for that service.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @11:42AM (#39782587)

    Giving health advice without an appropriate license is NOT protected speech.

    The right of free speech does NOT override the State's interest and right to protect the general public.

    Here's a similar case from Texas.

    http://www.casewatch.org/board/dent/kelley/appeal1.shtml [casewatch.org]

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @12:07PM (#39782999)

    Are you really that uninformed regarding the Constitution?

    The US Supreme Court has long held that many forms of commercial speech are not protected. This is clearly such a case.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_speech [wikipedia.org]

  • by bkranson (547938) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @03:06PM (#39785951)
    During 2011 I was able to attend many health related conferences around the country in addition to the NAMA, National Automatic Merchandising Association (aka Vending Machines) conference. While at the NAMA it is no surprise I was surrounded by Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, Mars and a host of other related companies that make food like products. It was also of no surprise that most of the people were over weight and looked unhealthy.

    Then I got to attend the Ancestral Health Symposium. Major difference, people were talking about eating food our ancestors would have eaten and getting back to the basics. Reducing our sugar intake, lower our consumption of processed foods and getting more information about what we are really putting in our bodies. Some people were overweight, but the majority of people there looked like they cared about their overall health.

    Last I got to attend the ADA conference. This is a huge conference in San Diego where all the Dietitians go to get some of their continuing education credits and current health information. Who was there?!? Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, Mars and a host of other related companies that make food like products. It was so sad for me to see. So much became clear to me over the course of that weekend.

    I would much rather give my money to Steve Cooksey for his advise, or to support his legal fees, than to most of the Dietitians I met at the ADA.

    NAMA: http://www.vending.org/ [vending.org]
    Ancestral Health Symposium: http://ancestryfoundation.org/ [ancestryfoundation.org]
    American Dietetic Association: http://www.eatright.org/ [eatright.org]

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