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

'Fat tax' : no health benefits, but guaranteed headlines

The proposal by Dr Tom Marshall to introduce VAT on fatty foods is unfair, unscientific and ineffective as a means of combating heart disease. Marshall's BMJ article was quoted in almost every newspaper today, but only a few cited the highly critical commentary which the BMJ published alongside Marshall's piece, pointing out that even if dietary modifications could be achieved by such a tax (which the commentators suggest is extremely unlikely), the main determinant of how any individual responds to reducing fat in the diet is genetic. Even among high-risk groups, the effects of such dietary modification are variable and at best limited. The commentary is polite, but seriously questions the scientific basis of Marshall's arguments, and effectively shows that the proposed 'fat tax' would unfairly penalise low-income groups without reducing the incidence of heart disease.

The idea of a tax on fatty foods is by no means a new one: it is trotted out regularly by 'experts' who must surely be aware of its limitations, but who clearly also know that they will be guaranteed extensive media attention. On this occasion, as before, the responsible scientists who wearily point out the serious flaws in the headline-grabbing proposals are either ignored or relegated to a brief mention in the final paragraph of press reports.