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Rowe S.B.,SR Strategy | Rowe S.B.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Alexander N.,IFIC Foundation
Nutrition Today | Year: 2015

How sure are you that you are on nutritionally sound groundVin your own eating behavior and in your conversations with family, friends, and colleagues? Put another way, how do you know that what you believe about food is right? Is there any risk that what you and I believe is wrong? Actually, there is always a risk that the current science on any given nutrition subject is wrong or is in error and that subsequent research will correct the error and move on. Science is evolving, not static. But how do you communicate that? Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Rowe S.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Alexander N.,IFIC Foundation
Nutrition Today | Year: 2015

Much has been written in the peer-reviewed literature about conflicts of interest in scientific research, including food research. Some authorities have called for more stringent management of such conflicts. Some have pointed out the relationship between financial conflicts of interest and other kinds of biases that may affect the direction or interpretation of research. Relatively little if anything has appeared in the literature about the possible biases of those who report or comment on nutrition and other health research. In this article, such ''communication bias'' is explored in some depth, and strategies are discussed for disclosing andmanaging the philosophical, emotional, value-based, or other biases that influence the interpretation of nutrition and health science. At a minimum, the authors argue for greater awareness and disclosure of such influences on the reporting of diet and health information. Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Rowe S.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Alexander N.,IFIC Foundation
Nutrition Today | Year: 2012

Nutrition, health, and food scientists and others charged with reaching out with credible science information have known for some time that they are in an uphill battle for the hearts and minds of the public. Especially, with the escalating noise of Web communications and ever-more-immediately available information of all kinds, it has become increasingly difficult for scientists to be heard and understood above the electronic din. For 2 days in May 2012, the National Academies of Science, through its Sackler Colloquium series, held a conference to explore the "Science of Science Communications" and more specifically to explore why the public often fails to respond to science-based calls to action. This article summarizes for nutrition communicators the Colloquium's major themes. Copyright © 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Rowe S.B.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Alexander N.,IFIC Foundation
Nutrition Today | Year: 2016

The authors take up an issue recently explored in the literature: the increasing exaggeration of research results in press releases and in the mass media. Pointing out that such exaggeration may stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of science as "magic," rather than as a process of experimentation, they propose that nutrition communicators adopt a new perspective: acknowledgement that science progresses by trial and error rather than a search for "truth." They cite commentators who suggest banning such misleading expressions as "statistically significant," "theory," and "truth," as well as such common nutrition science terms as "natural" and "organic." The authors recommend that nutrition communicators focus on telling their readers not about such fantasies as "super foods" and "life-prolonging supplements," but about how better to think about health and nutrition science. © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Rowe S.,University of Massachusetts Boston | Alexander N.,IFIC Foundation
Nutrition Today | Year: 2013

The article's authors describe recent movement in science communications and research to embrace a broader approach than has been utilized previously in reaching understanding of modern, complex issues facing scientists, policy makers, and the public today, such as obesity and climate change. Referring to what social anthropologists have called "distanciation," "disembedding," and "unresolved trust issues," between scientists and the public, the authors cite recent calls by academicians, policy analysts, and health professionals for a greater scientific inclusionary focus to research and communication. They argue that the physical sciences alone may not describe the food and lifestyle behaviors or the food system that have led to alarming increases in noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and other modern health conditions. They point to increasing participation by experts in the social sciences and humanities in conferences, research, and communications, regarding contemporary critical nutrition and health issues, a move to transdisciplinarity. © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health.

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