Posts Tagged ‘objectivity’

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 […]

The Moral Hazard of Demonizing the Food Industry

September 5, 2021 — The global food industry is huge – so big that people have a hard time putting firm numbers on it. But roughly, it’s worth about ten trillion dollars. It’s also very diverse. The top ten multinational food and beverage companies add up to only half a trillion dollars of those sales. Nonetheless in public health […]

Blurring the Line Between Righteousness and Health

August 22, 2021 — Make no mistake about it, public health is a righteous cause. Overwhelmingly, people choose careers in public health because they believe in the mission and they want to make a difference in the world. But righteous causes can bring a loss of objectivity. It happens because strong, human feelings come into play. When we hear […]

Public Policy Based on Anger and Fear

August 8, 2021 — Anger is circulating freely these days. It’s nothing new. But harnessing anger and its close cousin – fear – is a skill social media algorithms seem to have mastered. Thus, politicians see an opportunity and anger grows. Punitive public policy scores points with constituents stoked by anger and fear. It seldom solves problems, though. In […]

Chile: A Model for Anti-Obesity Policies?

June 3, 2021 — Five years ago, Chile adopted innovative regulations of food marketing to combat the rising problem of obesity there. A year later, Rand’s Debra Cohen wrote that Chile’s programs are a model for anti-obesity policies: “Nearly 30 years into the ongoing global epidemic of obesity and chronic diseases, Chile has taken the lead in identifying and […]

Evidence of Cherry Picking Data on Sweeteners

May 29, 2021 — Is it still true that seeing is believing? Or in this age of truth decay, is it more likely that people see what they’ve already chosen to believe? We see a lot of this in politics and religion. But it also seems to creep into nutrition research. A case in point would be highly polarized […]

When Prevailing Bias Goes Unchecked

April 4, 2021 — Prevailing bias envelopes us invisibly. Objectivity is something we have a passion for pursuing. But the challenge of that pursuit is great. In fact, objectivity is rare, if not mythical. Humans are subjective creatures, so objectivity is unnatural for us. If we care about a subject, we bring a bias to it. When we hear […]

Wild Variance in Views of Obesity and the Pandemic

March 30, 2021 — We all have great skill for seeing what we want to see in just about any situation. It flows from confirmation bias. Often, believing is seeing. Not the other way around. So the wild variance in views of obesity and the pandemic should not surprise us. Recent posts from Jane Brody and Anthony Warner serve […]

Factoids and Links: Deceiving with the Truth

March 28, 2021 — Are we entering a new golden age for obscurantism? Truth seems elusive at times in public discourse. But the pursuit of it is receiving a great deal of attention. So we have social media enterprises exploring ways they can slow the spread of misinformation. In response, folks who persist in spreading it are becoming more […]