SIRC Media Watch Archive
The Pick – December 2002

Mixed Messages. "It would be better if we put behind us this whole disgraceful business of blaming patients for their illnesses – for how else can one interpret the claim that every glass of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer by six per cent? This would require that those endlessly fertile sources of anxiety-mongering, represented by university departments of epidemiology, be closed down, which would have the additional benefit of releasing funds for serious research." James Lefanu in the Telegraph.

Eat, drink and be merry. "Even though the old puritanism was pretty bad, by all accounts, the new puritanism is worse – where once self-denial was a side order in the pursuit of higher things, now it's entirely self-serving. Hedonism and indulgence may be unfortunate side effects of relative affluence, but they are better than the alternative of sanctimonious self-preservation. They're better for the soul." Zoe Williams in the Guardian.

What The Diet Industry Won't Tell You. While having a sedentary lifestyle or a lousy diet - both factors, of course, that can contribute to being overweight - do pose health risks, there's virtually no evidence that being fat, in and of itself, is at all bad for you. In other words, while lifestyle is a good predictor of health, weight isn't: A moderately active fat person is likely to be far healthier than someone who is svelte but sedentary. What's worse, Americans' (largely unsuccessful) efforts to make themselves thin through dieting and supplements are themselves a major cause of the ill health associated with being overweight - meaning that America's war on fat is actually helping cause the very disease it is supposed to cure. New Republicfree registration required.

Vatican backs GM foods. The Vatican says GM foods should be used to feed the world's hungry. A spokesman says the controversy over altered foods is more political than scientific. Archbishop Renato Martino says it is better people eat GM foods than eat grass. Ananova.