I corrected a longstanding omission today by adding Junkfood Science
to my blogroll. Sandy Szwarc, the "registered nurse with a biological
science degree and
over 28 years in neonatal intensive care and emergency triage; medical
outreach education; health communications; and research" who writes the
blog, is one of those incredible rarities in the blogging world: a good
writer who backs up her opinions with the best research and analysis
You know those wire service articles that run every time a new health study is released? The ones that often sound suspiciously like press releases for drug companies or just really convenient in terms of promoting the status quo but seem to have all kinds of alarming-sounding statistics to back up their claims? Sandy Szwarc likes to go to town on those articles. Here's a great example, taken from her smackdown of a Scientific American article claiming that a study shows permanent weight loss to be more common than previously thought:
Overall, we have another study that bears little resemblance to what we’re hearing. In fact, this study not only fails to support the government’s public health messages for diet and exercise to prevent or manage weight gain, it gives us every indication that it may be contributing to harm.
Once again, an epidemiological study looking for correlations among a group of people can appear to support whatever agenda it was designed to find. But such studies never give us the full story.
Spin is everything. No matter how intuitive their conclusions might seem or how popular, epidemiology can never provide credible evidence to support decisions about our diet, lifestyle, or health ... and least of all, form a sound basis for public health policies or clinical guidelines.
Practically every post that Szwarc writes could be a chapter in a book. No, wait, should be a chapter in a book. The book could be entitled How
the media and the medical establishment are complicit in damaging all
of our health by misinterpreting science and accepting a buyout from
Big Pharma and Big Diet.
Go read it. It will probably make you angry. It makes me angry. But I can promise that you won't look at one of those "Study Shows American Ass-fat Causes Child Pornography!!!" articles again without running off to the Interwebs to find out what Sandy has to say about it.
Practically every post that Szwarc writes could be a chapter in a book. No, wait, should be a chapter in a book. The book could be entitled How the media and the medical establishment are complicit in damaging all of our health by misinterpreting science and accepting a buyout from Big Pharma and Big Diet.I'd buy that book.