Posts Tagged ‘scientific objectivity’

The Allure of Targeting Ultra-Processed Foods

September 12, 2022 — In popular culture right now, it seems that ultra-processed foods are the bad boys. “Ultra-processed foods linked to heart disease, cancer, and death, studies show,” says one recent headline. Scary stuff, eh? Targeting ultra-processed foods for scorn wins approving nods. But even if it supports a favored narrative, looking closely at research on ultra-processed foods […]

Objective Dialogue About Red Meat and Health?

September 10, 2022 — Is it possible to have objective dialogue about red meat and health? Is it easy to find? The simple answer is yes and no. In Lancet this year, a pair of letters tell the story of why it’s so hard. These letters concern weaknesses in a massive analysis of the global burden of disease from 2020 […]

CDC Reorganizes, Science and Policy Rumble

August 18, 2022 — The tension between science and policy at CDC is inevitable. But that tension has never been in plain view more than during the COVID-19 pandemic. And so, citing a “botched” response to the pandemic, CDC director Rochelle Walensky says that she will launch a sweeping reorganization of the agency. Her announcement was thin on specifics. […]

Can a Nudge Reliably Make People Budge?

August 8, 2022 — A fascinating debate is unfolding in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It’s mostly about publication bias, but the bottom line question is not so esoteric. Can a nudge make meaningful behavior change happen in a wide variety of situations? Late last year, Stephanie Mertens and colleagues published a meta-analysis of nudging […]

Beyond One-Size-Fits-All for Obesity Prevention

August 6, 2022 — Can we find an intervention to reduce the prevalence of obesity across the population? Marion Nestle tells us one-size-fits-all obesity prevention doesn’t have much promise in her view: “My interpretation of the current status of obesity prevention research is that any single policy intervention is unlikely to show anything but small improvements. Pessimists will say […]

Obesity in London? 100,000 Cases Prevented!

August 3, 2022 — According to a press release from the University of Sheffield, it sounds like the city of London pretty much has obesity prevention figured out. All they had to do is ban adverts for junk food from public transport. Voilà! With that simple act, says the press release, London has prevented nearly 100,000 cases of obesity, […]

Energy Balance Versus Insulin and Carbs, Again

July 29, 2022 — Genuinely, we admire the persistence of David Ludwig. Today in the Washington Post, he has an opinion piece about his opinion piece in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Once again he wants to sell the world on his concept that carbs and insulin are more important for understanding obesity than simply thinking about energy […]

Public Health: Research, Advocacy, and Trust

July 24, 2022 — Institutions of public health are in a tough spot right now. COVID has so battered public trust in the CDC that it has put us into the figure-it-out-yourself phase of this pandemic. Likewise, the public health response to obesity has long been one of both moral panic and ineffective policy prescriptions. Decades of exhortations to […]

Oops: The Mistaken Rush for Menu Calorie Labeling

July 12, 2022 — It seemed like a good idea at the time. Back in 2008, there was a headlong rush to require restaurant menu calorie labeling by decree. New York City tried it first. Other cities and states followed quickly. Tired of fighting it in a dizzying array of local venues, the restaurant industry came on board with […]

Caught Between Denial and Hyperbole on Obesity

July 11, 2022 — It seems like an endless struggle. On one hand we face strident voices from some corners of public health who want to catastrophize obesity. These are the voices of moral panic. But on the other hand, we have to contend with voices who seemingly deny that obesity is a health problem. That the only problems […]