Use of causal language in observational studies of obesity and nutrition

Academic Article


  • Objective: To assesss 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. Copyright © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cofield SS; Corona RV; Allison DB
  • Start Page

  • 353
  • End Page

  • 356
  • Volume

  • 3
  • Issue

  • 6