Posts Tagged ‘scientific inquiry’

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 […]

Does Grandparenting Explain Physical Activity Benefits?

December 1, 2021 — Let’s start with a disclosure of vested interests. It’s entirely possible that we hold strong biases about grandparenting and physical activity, since we engage in both with enthusiasm. Nonetheless, it is also objectively true that the active grandparent hypothesis is receiving considerable attention. A new article in PNAS by Daniel Lieberman and colleagues is prompting […]

Obesity: Chasing a Simple Answer in Carbs and Insulin

September 14, 2021 — Simplicity sells while complexity crashes. So for years, a simple idea has dominated our thinking about obesity. It is merely a matter of letting the balance of calories in and out – energy balance – get out of hand. For decades, scientists have known that the story is more complex, but simplicity has staying power. […]

Learning About Following the Uncertainty of Science

August 23, 2021 — No two ways about it, we’re all getting a crash course in the uncertainty of science. It turns out that all those bumper stickers saying follow the science don’t mean exactly what we thought. Because COVID-19 is teaching us that the certainty we seek from science is not always there for us. Little more than […]

Changing Our Minds About Nutrition and Obesity

August 2, 2021 — We see a lot of stubborn opinions about nutrition and obesity research. People dig intellectual trenches and defend their positions about sugar, salt, and fat. Suppositions turn into convictions. Data becomes a tool for proving a point. Or inconvenient data leads a professor say we have to stomp it out. It’s depressing, really, if we […]

Academic Bullying Doesn’t Belong in Public Health

July 17, 2021 — Back in 2005, new obesity research from CDC produced an unexpected finding. JAMA, a first-rate journal, carefully peer-reviewed and published it. But Harvard’s Walter Willett didn’t like what the data showed. So he mounted an offensive to discredit the researcher and her work. We would call this academic bullying. He called it necessary because his […]

Does Obesity Raise the Risk for Long COVID?

June 4, 2021 — A new paper in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism shows an association between obesity and the risk for long COVID. People with moderate or severe obesity have a 28 to 30 percent higher risk of hospital stays after the acute phase of COVID in this study. But it’s not the first study noting this link. In […]

A Century and a Lifetime of Disparities in Obesity

April 24, 2021 — “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” said Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. We can point to ways this is true. But if you dig into health disparities, this claim might be harder to support. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) […]

ADV36: Yes, a Virus Can Cause Obesity

April 2, 2021 — A good friend once told us, “Obesity is not a disease. You can’t catch it.” We won’t deny that his comment reflects the feelings of many people. But on the facts, he was simply wrong. A new systematic review in the International Journal of Obesity tells us that, indeed, it is possible to catch obesity. […]

Sorting Out “What the Science Says” Is Not So Easy

February 21, 2021 — There’s a new mantra making the rounds, but it’s really not so new. Let’s follow what the science says. That’s well and good, except that the science is seldom as definitive as we would like. In fact, when you dig into the details of any given study, you may find surprises – or more questions […]