There’s nothing like a good headline. Good as in clever, odd, or hilarious when it doesn’t mean to be. (Ever watch the Headlines segment on the "Tonight Show"?) It’s not easy summing up a story in 10 words or less while also making the headline compelling or inviting enough to lure readers.
Here are a few of the ones I’ve collected from online stories over the last year, headlines that actually made me open the story and read it:
Tyra Banks likes to be naked
Old lady finds fawn, beats it with a shovel
Microwaved baby scarred, but thriving
Kitten kicked like football by teenagers
Preacher killed wife, stuffed body in freezer, police say
Man shoots lawn mower, police say
Stripper, 80, still taking her clothes off
Brother to be jailed again for sex with sis
Man escapes from jail after losing weight
Where are the worst teeth in the U.S.?
Oklahoma may allow students to carry guns
Wife with 5 dead husbands investigated
Police shoot man as he beats toddler
5th severed foot found on Canadian coast
Girl divorced at 10
No more skinning seals alive, Canada says
Ad placement is also critical when putting together a newspaper page. I’m not sure if the irony was intentional, but this was page A5 of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Saturday:
“FDA backs expansion of gastric band surgery” alongside an ad for G&G Fitness.
I’m not anti-gastric band surgery per se (click here for a link to the FDA story online), but I’m a little concerned over the new recommendations by the FDA that patients with a BMI of 35 (or 30 if the person has high blood pressure or diabetes) be eligible for the procedure, reduced from the current standard: 40 BMI. This would make 27 million more Americans eligible for gastric bands. 27 million. I can’t fathom.
My hope is that people like me with high blood pressure and who have a 30 BMI (at 5’5”, I would weigh 180 pounds) would maybe look to the right of the page and see the ad for treadmills, ellipticals and bikes and consider diet and exercise before surgery. When I was 180 pounds, I needed to lose 30 pounds to be at a normal BMI of 25. I won’t say “just 30 pounds” because I know losing 30 pounds can be very difficult for some people. But is the reason it’s difficult physical or emotional? I would guess the majority of the time it’s emotional.
I’ve known two people who’ve died from gastric bypass. I’ve also known two people who successfully lost and are maintaining 150-pound losses from the surgery. We could debate the pros and cons ad nauseum, and when someone is morbidly obese (such as I was when my BMI was nearly 50), it might be the right course of action. But 30 pounds? 27 million more people? I’d much rather see us first attack weight issues from the inside out rather than the outside in.
Stepping down off my soap box and opening the question to you. Do you think the FDA is right in recommending lowering the BMI requirements for gastric band surgery?