Fighting nutrition misinformation:

April 07, 2006

ITHACA, NY-- This month the American Dietetics Association releases its newest updated position statement - Food and Nutrition Misinformation. And it has a lot to say about the media.

"In today's nutrition education world, the media is king," said Dr. Brian Wansink, Cornell University Professor and author of the position statement. The media that were cited as having the biggest impact were magazines, television, books, newspapers, and the Internet.

How does the media score on accuracy? "They get good marks," said Wansink, but there are four inaccuracies that can be easily avoided: 1) reporting a correlation as causation, 2) generalizing a study's results to a broader population not represented by the study, 3) exaggerating the size of an effect, and 4) using a single link in a chain of events to make predictions about events in the future.

Given media's critical role in nutrition education, the position statement offers advice for journalists who are reporting on nutrition studies:
The position paper will be published in this April's Journal of the American Dietetic Association. More information on the report can be found at the website of the American Dietetic Association ( or by contacting the author, Professor Brian Wansink at 607-254-6302 or

Cornell Food & Brand Lab

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