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Obes Facts. 2010 Dec;3(6):353-6. doi: 10.1159/000322940. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

Use of causal language in observational studies of obesity and nutrition.

Author information

1
Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA. scofield@uab.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the inappropriate use of causal language in studies on obesity and nutrition.

METHODS:

Titles and abstracts of 525 peer-reviewed papers in the 4 leading journals in the fields of obesity and nutrition were scrutinized for language implying causality in observational studies published in 2006.

RESULTS:

Such misleading language appeared in 161 papers (31%) independent of funding source. Remarkably 49% of studies lacking statistically significant primary outcomes used misleading language compared to 29% of those with p values ≤0.05 (chi square p < 0.001). Exculpatory language was present in the body of the text in 19%; of the 161 studies.

CONCLUSION:

We suggest that editors and reviewers evaluate submissions for misleading reporting.

PMID:
21196788
PMCID:
PMC3280017
DOI:
10.1159/000322940
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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