Motherhood in Western Europe

Insights from Western European Mothers

The changing face of motherhood — Western Europe

The accompanying reports combine a review of existing literature with an analysis of original quantitative data derived from a poll of 9,582 mothers from 12 countries in Western Europe, making it one of the largest studies of this kind ever conducted

Child Obesity and Health

An analysis of the latest available data from the Health Survey for England (HSE)

Child Obesity and Health — download the full report in pdf format

In this ‘National Childhood Obesity Week’, the SIRC report, Children, obesity and heath: Recent trends, holds up a true mirror, accurately reflecting the trend towards slimmer, healthier children. more

The Future of Freemasonry

An examination of the role of Freemasonry in the 21st century


This report is, as far as we know, an account of the first ever study that has been commissioned by Freemasons from a non-Masonic body. None of the SIRC members involved in the project are Freemasons, a fact that evoked surprise and welcome in equal measure from the Lodge members we met. more

The Changing Face of Motherhood

Insights from three generations of mothers


The report seeks to answer some specific questions about the changing face of motherhood and determine the extent to which modern ‘solutions’ to motherhood are more or less beneficial than the solutions of the past. more

Riskfactorphobic doctors give misguided advice on asthma

There is no medical evidence to support the popular misconception that dairy foods can trigger asthma attacks, or that cutting out milk and other dairy products will alleviate asthma symptoms among sufferers. According to a recent Australian survey, however, 14% of GPs share the unfounded popular phobias about dairy products, 30% are confused and over half, even when they know the real facts, continue to "hedge their bets" by advising patients to use dietary modifications to treat asthma.

The National Asthma Campaign in Australia has warned that cutting out dairy foods is potentially harmful, particularly in young children, as these are the main source of calcium and a major source of riboflavin, protein and other vitamins in their diet. By advising patients to avoid these products, misguided GPs are putting them at risk of malnutrition and osteoporosis.

It is hard nowadays to find a food product that has not been the subject of a health scare, or 'linked' to a deadly disease, or branded carcinogen-of-the-week by six newspapers in search of a headline – and milk has for some time been a fashionable taboo-food among the chattering classes who define themselves through their imaginary allergies. One would hope, however, that GPs would have more sense than to believe everything they read in the papers, or everything they hear at dinner parties.

Unfortunately, it seems that many Australian GPs have succumbed to 'riskfactorphobia' – overreaction to health scares and warnings, resulting in fear, anxiety and attempts to follow contradictory or misguided advice. Riskfactorphobia is a common side effect of health scares, potentially damaging but at least understandable in laypersons with little knowledge of science, but seriously worrying when encountered among the medical profession.