My healthy life: Maureen Taylor

What journalist (and medical student) Maureen Taylor learned from her years as a health reporter

My healthy life: Maureen Taylor

Source: Best Health Magazine, March/April 2009

Maureen Taylor never expected to end up with a career in medicine. ‘I wasn’t a science geek in high school,’ says the former CBC national health reporter. But the life-and-death drama of medical mysteries drew her in. Now, after 25 years as a journalist, the 48-year-old mother of two is studying at McMaster University to be a physician’s assistant’working under a doctor’s super­vision to conduct medical exams, and diagnose and treat illnesses. ‘I wanted a new challenge,’ says Taylor. It’s been a big year: She got news of her acceptance while honeymooning in Europe with husband Dr. Donald Low, one of Canada’s leading microbiologists.

More info equals less fear

‘Being a health reporter hasn’t made me a hypochondriac’it’s made me the person who calms others. People need to understand the relative risks. They get scared about the latest study but don’t think twice about driving a car, and that’s far riskier.’

Make "me-first" time

‘I don’t blame any mother with young kids for not exercising regularly. There’s just no time. Now that my kids are grown, I’ve taken up running. It’s so easy that I wish I’d snuck in 20 minutes a day when I was a young mom.’

Eat like a European

‘In Italy what struck me was the smaller portions and simple meals: prosciutto, a little cheese and fresh pears for lunch. In restaurants [like this one in Spello, Umbria], pasta is served on a small plate’not in a heaping mound.’

Just say no to smoking

‘Last summer, I worked on a story about heart attack rates in Scotland after a smoking ban was implemented. Of course, the rate in smokers dropped, but the big surprise was that the rate in non-smokers dropped as well, by
21 percent. It’s a no-brainer: Don’t smoke, and stay away from people who do.’

Keep reading

‘I love to read novels, but I’m also attracted to books connected to health, like Vincent Lam’s Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures and Atul Gawande’s Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance. Who knows? Maybe I’ll use my medical experience as the basis for my writing!’

This article was originally titled "My Healthy Life," in the March/April 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today and never miss an issue!

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