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Mr Epidemiology

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October 2011

How many calories are in that burger?: Do our estimates become more accurate with labelling

ResearchBlogging.org Recently, there has been a push to mandate labelling in fast food restaurants and stores. In the US, this is a huge initiative, passed as part of the 2010 Health Reform Bill (for another view on this, check out Dr Yoni Freedhoff’s post). This Bill mandated that all restaurants with more than 20 locations nationally had to post nutritional information on their website.

There’s a lot of ammo on both sides: some think that people should be responsible for their food choices, and that restaurants shouldn’t have to put up nutritional information. After all, they don’t *force* you to eat it. On the other hand, others advocate that knowing what is in your food will help you make a more informed decision.

Do you know how many calories are in a regular Big Mac? Take a guess. The answer is at the end of this post.

Regardless of your viewpoint, it all becomes irrelevant if the nutritional information doesn’t actually make a difference; if people don’t read and remember them, then what is the point?

And this is where today’s paper comes in.

More after this word from our sponsors … (click read more)

Continue reading “How many calories are in that burger?: Do our estimates become more accurate with labelling”

Interesting reads: October 2nd – 8th, 2011

To paraphrase Xkcd: The above joke contains advanced mathematics, which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors.

I like to tweet random things (follow me @MrEpid), but for those who don’t use Twitter, here are some interesting posts I’ve come across this past week:

  • A joke about Epidemiologists! (Thanks to Ray for the link!)
  • The JAYFK reports that Time magazine recommends people stop buying alternative flu remedies
  • Ben Goldacre (he of Bad Science), comments on a recent paper published in Nature, where academic were found to make fundamental mistakes when reporting and choosing statistical tests
  • Denmark introduces a “fat tax” based on the amounts of saturated fats in a product (Thanks to Karen for the link!)
  • Dr Arya Sharma talks about whether an obesity NGO can take money from “Big Food” and remain ethical
  • Finally, an absolutely beautiful time-lapse video of the northern lights in Finland (be sure to watch this in HD).

Aurora Borealis in Finnish Lapland 2011 from Flatlight Films on Vimeo.

Have a great weekend everybody!

-Atif

Don’t call kids “obese”: Parental preferences for what you call their child

ResearchBlogging.org Obese youth are often stigmatized by society, and this stigmatization can have drastic, and long lasting consequences ranging from decreased self esteem to increased suicidal ideation. And for those youth who remain obese into adulthood, they also face worse employment, educational opportunities and even stigmatization by healthcare professionals.

Knowing that obese youth face this sort of discrimination, and the toll this can take on parents, you have to wonder what effect Pediatricians can have. Given that parents put a lot of trust in pediatricians, and often pediatricians form the first port of call for parents concerned about their child’s weight, the words they use and the policies they promote can make a lot of difference to those concerned about their weight.

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity is a world leader in obesity stigma research

This led to a study being conducted Dr Rebecca Puhl and colleagues at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, where they asked parents what terms they would like pediatricians to use when talking about a child with a higher than ideal weight, and also what action they would take if their doctor used stigmatizing language. As I’ll talk about later, the article caused a bit of a firestorm online.

Continue reading “Don’t call kids “obese”: Parental preferences for what you call their child”

Interesting reads: September 25th – October 1st, 2011

Dilbert understands the importance of washing hands ... and USB drives (click image for more Dilbert)

I like to tweet random things (follow me @MrEpid), but for those who don’t use Twitter, here are some interesting posts I’ve come across this past week:

Have a great weekend everybody!

-Atif

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