ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser Launches New Health Advice Book


Easy-to-Understand Answers to Your Most Confusing and Critical Health Questions

By Richard Besser, MD

Chief Health and Medical Editor, ABC News

If my doctors order a lot of tests, does that mean they're more thorough? Should I get an annual physical? Do adults need shots? Face it: Health care is complicated, and sifting through misinformation and misconceptions is not easy. How do you know what to believe? You need a doctor you can trust to help decipher fact from fiction.

TELL ME THE TRUTH, DOCTOR: Easy-to-Understand Answers to Your Most Confusing and Critical Health Questions (Hyperion/April 23, 2013/$24.99) breaks down complicated medical issues to allow you to make better decisions for yourself and your family. It is the house call you've been missing.

In his first book, Richard Besser, MD, the Chief Health and Medical Editor at ABC News, delivers practical, no-holds-barred, sometimes counterintuitive answers to the questions he hears every day. TELL ME THE TRUTH, DOCTOR empowers readers with information delivered in a way you would want your own doctor to communicate with you: clearly, sensibly, and concisely, providing actions you can take immediately to help improve your health. Dr. Besser has organized the book into six sections addressing critical and confusing questions. Examples include:

  • Nutrition: "Will skipping breakfast help me lose weight?"
  • Exercise: "Do I need thirty minutes of exercise a day to stay healthy?"
  • Taking control of your health: "Does Doctor know best?"
  • Prevention: "Should I take a daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack, stroke, or cancer?"

Caring about the health of the nation for over twenty years, Dr. Besser has been unflinching in his dedication to challenging the status quo when it comes to health issues. Before coming to ABC in 2009, he spent more than a decade at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including his tenure as acting director during the H1N1 pandemic. "I know how hard it can be to navigate the health care system," Besser states. "I too have had the challenge of finding a new doctor, overcoming a disabling medical condition, and watching a loved one die from a medical error. As a parent, I worry about my teenage sons and whether they will make the right decisions for their own well-being."

TELL ME THE TRUTH, DOCTOR cuts through medical hype that promises the next quick fix and instead offers science-based answers to help consumers make better choices for leading healthier and longer lives. For more information please visit : Access press materials electronically at:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Besser, MD, ABC News's Chief Health and Medical Editor, provides medical analysis and commentary for all ABC News broadcasts and platforms, including World News with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, and Nightline, as well as many other news/entertainment programs. Since joining ABC News in 2009, Dr. Besser has been at the forefront of news coverage for every major medical story, including the earthquake in Haiti and the Japanese radiation release. He was the leading correspondent on ABC's global health series, Be the Change, Save a Life, and received a 2011 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his World News story on cord blood banking. Besser came to ABC News from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where he worked for thirteen years, including as acting director, during which time he led the CDC's response to the H1N1 influenza outbreak. He has taught and trained doctors at the University of California at San Diego and is a visiting fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. Most important, for more than twenty-five years, Dr. Besser has practiced medicine, giving his patients and their families straightforward, commonsense advice.

What you can learn from TELL ME THE TRUTH, DOCTOR:

  1. 1. If My Doctors Orders A Lot Of Tests Does That Mean They're More Thorough?

Contrary to what you might think, saying no to tests you don't need can lead to longer life and improved health.

  1. 2. Should I Get An Annual Physical?

To get the most out of your annual physical, think talking not testing.

  1. 3. How Do I Stay Safe In The Hospital?

The hospital can be one of the most dangerous places to be when you are sick. Learn Dr. Besser's Ten Questions so you leave the hospital healthier than when you went in.

  1. 4. What Are The Most Dangerous Drugs?

Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can be deadly. Studies show that prescription narcotic painkillers were involved in more unintentional overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

  1. 5. Do I Need Thirty Minutes Of Exercise A Day To Stay Healthy?

Even ten minutes of exercise can put you on the road to better health. Learn how increased exercise can sabotage weight loss.

  1. 6. Are Diets The Best Way To Lose Weight?

Americans continue to believe that the answer to losing extra pounds has got to be the newest diet book or product. To lose weight-don't diet!-follow Dr. Besser's Bottom Line Steps instead.

  1. 7. If I Am Exercising, Should I Drink Sports Drinks?

Unless you are a professional athlete, water should work just fine, and save you a lot of calories and money. Discover why this, and other cost savings solutions, can actually improve your health.

  1. 8. Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer?

Using a cell phone can kill you, but not by giving you brain cancer.


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