Are Government Research Methods Flawed?

Nutrition Health Review, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

Are Government Research Methods Flawed?


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) has sent a strongly worded letter to Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The institute charges that the criteria used by U.S. health policymakers to craft advice for disease prevention is not keeping pace with the changing scientific landscape.

AICR Executive Vice President Kelly Browning called to acknowledge the many differences that exist between disease treatment and disease prevention. Until health policymakers rethink their assumption that a single method can be used to investigate these different scientific fields, the letter said, federal prevention policy will remain "fundamentally flawed."

"The way to assess the potential of a drug to cure an illness is not the way to assess the potential of overall diets to prevent the illness in the first place," said Browning. "Yet it is still official U.S. health policy to attempt to answer these very different questions with a single set of scientific criteria. This practice is unfortunate and ultimately misleading. When it comes to the multifaceted issue of prevention, one size does not fit all."

According to the letter, many in the international scientific community who study prevention shun the federal government's "reductionist" focus on randomized, controlled trials and have instead embraced the more comprehensive "portfolio approach" to study the issue.

The portfolio approach is used to assess the many different forms of scientific evidence together, without giving any single form greater weight. According to AICR experts, this more comprehensive method can answer complex, interrelated questions about the prevention of chronic disease that randomized trials--which measure the effects of a specific treatment in patients with an already existing disease--are simply not designed to ask.

The sharp distinction between these two approaches came to a head in early 2004, when the government sent its own letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In the letter, William R. Steiger, Special Assistant to the Secretary for International Affairs at the DHHS and the Department of Agriculture, criticized the methodology behind a draft of the WHO/FAO Report, "Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases."

The DHHS criticism centered on the fact that the WHO/FAO draft did not use the same set of evidence-based guidelines that are used by all federal health agencies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Are Government Research Methods Flawed?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.