Charlotte Sutton, Senior Editor/Health and Politics

Charlotte Sutton

Charlotte Sutton is senior editor/health and politics, at the Tampa Bay Times. Since moving to Florida in 1986 she has covered news all over the state, including hurricanes, politics, arts and entertainment. She and her husband, a writer and teacher, live in St. Petersburg.

Phone: (727) 893-8425


Twitter: @SuttonTimes

  1. 107 miles in 2 days by bike: Could we do it?


    Ever so briefly last Saturday morning, it seemed like riding our bikes 107 miles in two days was going to be a little easier than we'd thought.

    Despite our best efforts and a GPS, we were among the last cyclists to arrive at Bok Tower in Lake Wales, the starting line of Bike MS: The Citrus Tour. This is a wonderful annual event that drew around 1,000 cyclists, and not just because it raises money ($689,311 to be exact) to fight multiple sclerosis. It's great fun and meticulously organized — with a firm rule that latecomers will be driven with their bikes to catch up with other riders at the first rest stop....

    Charlotte Sutton and Logan Mabe learned a lot while digging in and powering through Bike MS.
  2. Best hospital ratings evaluate health care, not amenities


    Not long ago, I went to visit a friend at a hospital in Georgia.

    A valet stood ready to whisk my car away. A stop at the gift shop for flowers nearly turned into a spree, they had so many wonderful tchotchkes on display. The glass atrium was full of light, soft music and chic furnishings, like a fancy spa hotel. Near the elevators stood a life-sized, cut-out image of a chef who promised to delight the palates of the most discerning patients....

  3. The colonoscopy is a valuable test that should be affordable to all


    Here's a health headline from earlier this week that's such a big deal that it bears repeating:

    Colon cancer rates among Americans 50 and older fell 30 percent between 2000 and 2010, the American Cancer Society announced on Monday. New cases are down. So are deaths, as you can see in the accompanying chart.

    This is huge. Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but if trends continue, it could be far less of a threat in the near future....

  4. Who will be the Legislature's biggest loser?


    Lawmakers generally don't much care for being placed on the losing side of annual end-of session lists of winners and losers. But this may be an exception:

    The state Capitol’s own “Biggest Loser” competition has begun, hosted by Senate Health Policy Committee Chair Aaron Bean (shown here bravely weighing in on Thursday) and House Health and Human Services Committee Chair Richard Corcoran....

     Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach,  weighs in.
  5. Need health insurance? There's help available


    This is an election year, so it should come as no surprise that politicians in search of votes are saying all kinds of things without much regard for accuracy.

    Take, for instance, the dire warnings that Obamacare — the health insurance program for people under age 65 — is bad for Medicare, the program for seniors and the disabled.

    When Gov. Rick Scott aired an ad claiming there would be a "devastating impact'' on seniors from some cuts to private Medicare Advantage plans, he earned a "Mostly False'' rating from PolitiFact....

  6. Nobody said we have to be perfect


    It's been a month since a colleague and I pushed our desk chairs to the side and elevated our computers so we could stand while working.

    Yes, we were a little unnerved at all the news about the health hazards of sitting, more of which you'll read about in today's Personal Best. But more than that, we both were feeling achy after hours (and years) of sitting, and figured it was time for a change....

  7. Investigation shows value of timely tests, open government


    Nearly two years ago, we brought you the story of Kye Johnson, an adorable toddler with a potentially fatal genetic condition that meant constant hospitalizations, lasting physical damage, untold anxiety and enormous medical bills.

    If Kye had been given a $5 blood test at birth, his severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID) could have been found and treated at a fraction of the cost in suffering and dollars....

  8. Standing at desk may help with pain, burn more calories than sitting


    Ask an expert how to establish a fitness habit and chances are you'll hear something like this:

    Find an activity that fits your life, and is easy to include in your daily routine.

    That's good, but I propose taking it a step further:

    Find an activity that fits your life, and is hard NOT to include in your daily routine.

    Here's what I mean: Like many writers, editors and binge TV watchers, I do a lot of sitting. Chairs, sofas, floors, rocks, you name it, I can sit on it. Not to be immodest, but I excel at sitting....

  9. Go the distance in 2014


    A few months ago, my husband came home with an idea that I wasn't quite expecting.

    Hey! Let's ride bikes from Germany to the Czech Republic.

    Yes, that Germany and that Czech Republic. Two entirely separate nations.

    Now, you should know that although we own bikes, we don't ride great distances. Maybe 20 or 30 miles on a Sunday morning, but we don't even cross county lines, never mind national borders. Yes, I go to the gym, and I suppose if pressed (or chased) we both could run a couple of miles. Still, this two-nation bike ride seemed a bit much....

  10. Combine fitness and tourism with adventure travel


    If Tampa lawyer Jeanne Coleman is tempted to slack off on her training regimen, she has this memory to stay motivated: Pedaling a fully loaded bicycle up a Pyrenees mountain road so steep, she had to stop every mile to catch her breath. Waiting for her at the top: all the cyclists who had passed her on the way up, but stopped to applaud her.

    "That set the tone,'' Coleman, now 62, said of the 2010 adventure. "I said, 'Okay, I can do the rest of the Pyrenees.' And we did.''...

    Road Scholar associate vice president of public and media relations Stacie Fasola, third from right, poses with a group that participated in a four-day hike to Peru’s Machu Picchu, “Lost City of the Incas,” in October.
  11. Make adjustments for better sleep


    I've been reading in bed ever since the book was a Nancy Drew mystery from the school library, illuminated by a flashlight under the covers. I rarely lasted long before conking out.

    Now my in-bed library is neatly contained in a Kindle Fire, an elegant computer tablet much brighter than my old flashlight. If the book gets boring, I can catch up on Facebook, check email, watch a video. An hour or more might pass before I make myself shut the thing off....

  12. Negotiating the U-turns of life


    A few months ago, my colleague John Woodrow Cox told me about a fascinating story he was reporting. A 40-something man, mostly deaf all his life, was going to receive a cochlear implant. Though many deaf people would not choose the procedure, Mike Gray, who never learned American Sign Language and who struggled to succeed in a hearing world, believed it was his best hope.

    Mike invited John and Tampa Bay Times photographers to be in the operating room for the surgery, and later to record the moment when the implant was turned on....

  13. 'Responsibility' can mean many things


    I've been hearing a lot of talk about responsibility lately.

    Most often, the point about responsibility is that other people need to be taking it.

    It's pretty unusual to hear somebody say, "You know, I just don't take enough responsibility.''

    The other week, I spoke with a civic group in Tampa about the Affordable Care Act. Talk, not surprisingly, turned to the cost of health care and why it's so much higher in the United States than anywhere else in the world....

  14. Get out and enjoy Florida's natural gifts


    Is it just me, or has this been an especially confusing holiday season?

    Thursday was Thanksgiving. It also was Hanukkah. Which meant it was also Thanksgivukkah. The blue and silver menorah cards I'd bought late last year (on sale! ) for my Jewish friends suddenly seemed all wrong.

    Speaking of sales, this transformation of "Black Friday'' into "Black Days and Days and Days of Deals'' baffles me entirely....

  15. Dawna Stone talks fitness and health in new book



    Entrepreneur Dawna Stone is all about fitness. An avid runner and triathlete, she started the Women's Running Half Marathon in 2009, a natural development from her earlier creation, Women's Running magazine.

    Back in 2005, she was the winner on TV's The Apprentice: Martha Stewart and landed a stint with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as development director of Body + Soul. Since then, she has hosted a Sirius Satellite Radio health program, and done numerous television segments on wellness....

    Local entrepreneur Dawna Stone is author of “Healthy You! 14 Days to Quick and Permanent Weight Loss and a Healthier Happier You.” It was just published last month.