Posts Tagged ‘objectivity’

Whip Obesity Now – Or Maybe Not

June 12, 2022 — Talk is cheap. But history tells us that cheap talk doesn’t solve wicked problems. That’s true whether the problem is the relentlessly rising health harms of obesity or the current hot topic – inflation. The notoriously hollow Whip Inflation Now campaign of Gerald Ford seems like a model for equally ineffective campaigns aspiring to overcome […]

No, You’re Not Entitled to Your Opinion

May 20, 2022 — Authored by Patrick Stokes, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Deakin University Every year, I try to do at least two things with my students at least once. Firstly, I make a point of addressing them as “philosophers” – a bit cheesy, but hopefully it encourages active learning. Secondly, I say something like this: “I’m sure you’ve […]

Population-Wide Personal Preference Policies in Obesity

April 3, 2022 — Policies to address obesity across the whole population often make perfect sense to the people who are promoting them. But often, they run into resistance from people looking at obesity from a very different place. Writing in the Guardian, Clare Finney offers a case in point: “For the 1.25 million men and women with eating […]

The Challenge of Objectivity About Alcohol Risks

March 30, 2022 — Objectivity about the risks of drinking alcohol is not easy to find. Just like sweet beverages, alcohol has been part of human culture and a source of pleasure for thousands of years. An awareness of its health risks also has a very long history. Because humans can rationalize just about anything, we embrace assurances from […]

Still Looking for the Health Effect of SSB Taxes

March 28, 2022 — A new study in Health Economics reminds us we’re still looking for evidence for the health effect of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes. It hasn’t shown up yet. But we’re still waiting hopefully. This latest study comes from John Cawley, Michael Daly, and Rebecca Thornton. They estimated the effect of an SSB Tax in Mauritius on […]

Conflicted Interests in the Healthy Living Industry

March 6, 2022 — The law of the instrument suggests that the tool at hand when a problem presents itself seems like the right one to use. When all we have is a hammer, everything looks a bit more like a nail. So we pound it. And in the healthy living industry (aka wellness) we have quite a hammer. […]

Skepticism and Grace: Can They Coexist?

January 30, 2022 — You may have noticed. Evidence of skepticism, disagreement, and polarization is all around us. These phenomena are notably – sometimes disturbingly – present in dialogue about public health. We suppose that a pandemic puts stresses on people that explain some of this behavior. Healthy skepticism indeed is a good thing. Its roots lie in objectivity […]

Fighting Diet Culture with Sweet, Simple Answers

January 9, 2022 — “Know that BMI is BS.” On NPR’s Life Kit podcast, that’s the advice for coping with the boogeyman of diet culture. Whatever diet culture is, in this season of anxiety about weight and health, it certainly seems to be on the minds of many influencers. So if one defines diet culture as a preoccupation with […]

Twin Views of Obesity in Conflict

November 23, 2021 — “The way that fat people and thin people experience this conversation is worlds apart,” says Michael Hobbes on a recent episode of his Maintenance Phase podcast with Aubrey Gordon. He’s describing a heated debate about catastrophizing obesity that has been smoldering for almost two decades. This is a conflict between two views of obesity. One […]

Scorn for Scoring Foods for Health

November 9, 2021 — A few weeks ago, nutrition researchers at Tufts released Food Compass. It is a complex algorithm for scoring the healthfulness of foods on a scale of 1 to 100. I’ve not yet heard a positive assessment from RDN colleagues. The tool has generated anger and rage on Twitter, which is to be expected. Personally I […]