Posts Tagged ‘observational research’

Good, Bad, Ugly: Planetary Health and Ultra-Processed Foods

June 11, 2024 — Keeping up with virtues and vices in food just keeps getting harder. Planetary health is a virtue to pursue, but ultra-processed food is a vice, and plant-based foods are virtuous unless they are ultra-processed. Then perhaps they become virtuous vices. So confusing. A series of publications this week adds to the confusion. In the American […]

Phones, Social Media, Mental Health, and Obesity

May 26, 2024 — Skimming the headlines, it would be easy to think that the combination of mobile phones and social media are responsible for quite a range of our current ills – including mental health and obesity. If you want to dig deeper, you can find a whole tome on the subject from Jonathan Haidt. He has woven […]

Torturing Observational Data to Get a Confession – A Case Study

May 6, 2024 — Sometime in the 1960s, economist Ronald Coase, a Nobel laureate, advised colleagues that torturing a set of data can always yield a confession to serve the purpose at hand. As if to prove this adage, a new publication in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology shows us 1,208 ways to analyze NHANES data on all-cause mortality […]

More Avocados Equal Less Diabetes? Not Really

May 1, 2024 — If you pay attention to nutrition headlines in consumer media, avocados sound pretty amazing. “Eating more avocados could help women stave off type 2 diabetes,” says one report. “Avocado a day may keep diabetes at bay,” says another. The only problem is that neither of the studies that prompted those stories actually support the claims […]

How Often Does Metabolic Surgery Cure Sleep Apnea?

April 6, 2024 — Sleep apnea is a complication of obesity and at the same time, obesity can be a complication of sleep apnea. This two-way relationship sets up a problem that is serious and can be hard to resolve. But it deserves close attention because it can lead to an early death. So, given the tangled relationship between […]

Implicit Bias: “Just Be More Active to Overcome Obesity”

March 29, 2024 — A fascinating new study is prompting some very clickable headlines this week. It is all about the interaction of genetic risk for obesity and physical activity. It shows that in people with higher genetic risk scores for obesity, the association between physical activity (using daily step counts as a surrogate) and BMI is different than […]

Do Free School Meals Reduce Obesity Prevalence?

March 26, 2024 — Eight states have moved to provide nutritious meals at school for free to all students. A few simple reasons make it clear enough that this is a good idea. It reduces the stigma attached to receiving free school meals while improving food security for children from low-income families. Furthermore, nutrition quality goes up for all […]

Yes, We Can Learn to Be Happier

March 17, 2024 — Professor Bruce Hood at the University of Bristol wants us to know that we can indeed learn to be happier. He has been teaching the Science of Happiness there since 2018 and measuring the results over time. Collaborating with Catherine Hobbs, Sarah Jelbert, and Laurie Santos in Higher Education, he reports that coursework in positive […]

Making Sense of Ultra-Processed Research Clickbait

March 2, 2024 — Nutrition research in medical journals follows trends that define what the cognoscenti can regard healthy – or not. For decades, the bad stuff was fat. Then we switched to the sugar is toxic meme and that was the preoccupation through the 2010s. Now there can be no doubt. Research on ultra-processed foods is providing a steady […]

Exercise Self-Reports Predict Less Benefit for Men Than Women?

February 29, 2024 — What could explain the observation that self-reports of exercise predict less of a benefit for men than women? In the Journal of the American College of Cardiology researchers nimbly leap to a conclusion that women get greater gains in mortality risk reduction from “equivalent doses” of physical activity. But would men exaggerate their self-reports? When […]