Correlation does NOT equal causation, people!
In case you missed it, in a recent article published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine entitled Overstatement of Results in the Nutrition and Obesity Peer-Reviewed Literature (not making this up), the authors found that a lot of papers published in the field of obesity and nutrition have, shall we say, issues.
Well–as they say down South– I never!
The authors looked at over 900 scientific articles on nutrition or obesity published either in 2001 or 2011 in leading journals. They found that about 1 in 11 include “overreaching statements of results.”
Here’s how the authors described statements that would be coded as “overreaching”:
- reporting an associative relationship as causal
- making policy recommendations based on observational data that show associations only (e.g., not cause and effect)
- inappropriately generalizing to a population not represented by the sample studied
Frankly, I am totally offended. Someone needs to let these folks know…
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