Listen: Dr Norman Swan discusses his new book and health anxiety with Sam Robinson on Hope Breakfast
With plenty of books on store shelves offering varied health advice, Dr Norman Swan has entered with a guide to just about everything.
Over the last year, many of us have turned to Dr Norman Swan for advice and wisdom around the coronavirus pandemic. Host of the ABC’s Coronacast, Dr Norman has always strived to provide Australia with the latest need-to-know health information.
Now, after a very busy 2020, Dr Norman Swan has released a book So You Think You Know What’s Good For You? that is an all-in-one guide to assist Australians making better health decisions. Speaking to Hope Breakfast, Norman explained it’s important to have a book that isn’t telling you exactly what to do, but provides you with the information needed to make the best decision.
“I’ve been meaning to write a health book for many years,” Norman said.
“I get very frustrated with health books on bookshelves. They do two or three things. One is that they give simple solutions for complicated problems. The other thing they do is that they wag your finger at you and tell you what to do.
“What I’ve done in my broadcasting over the years is give people the information they need to make decisions and it’s up to you.”
Dr Norman is also keen to allow his readers to take control of their health, especially in the midst of heightened health anxiety in our society today.
“They’re anxious about what to eat: low-carb, high protein, vegan, vegetarian. What supplement should I be on? I’m only getting six hours sleep a night,” he said.
“We have an epidemic of insomnia because people are anxious about insomnia! I’ll have succeeded by the end of the book if I’ve just made you less anxious if I’ve helped you focus on what counts.”
As millions of Australians turn to Dr Norman as “Australia’s most trusted doctor” for health information through a pandemic, he acknowledges that there is some pressure on him at times.
“It’s weighed on me heavily during COVID, especially through the vaccine debate. There’s a lot of thought into how and whether you cover a particular story. A lot goes into the bucket.
“I suppose I’ve got used to doing it, so I don’t get overly anxious about it. But there have been things through COVID that have kept me up at night that I’m worried about. Because, we are on a knife edge, and the wrong information could really mislead people.”
So You Think You Know What’s Good For You? is available now. Hear more from Dr Norman Swan in the player above, including a discussion about the current COVID-19 vaccine rollout.