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

Missing links?

There is a Marx Brothers film in which the brothers are searching for hidden treasure in a house. When no treasure is found after an exhaustive search, one brother suggests that they may have the wrong house – that perhaps the treasure is hidden in the house next door. On looking outside, the brothers find to their dismay that there is no house next door. They immediately begin drawing up plans to build one.

A similarly crazed logic appears to have replaced rational scientific enquiry among epidemiologists. In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, three supposedly sane researchers report that although there is no major obesity problem in Hong Kong, there is a high prevalence of disorders normally 'linked' with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia, often occurring among patients who are well within the 'normal' BMI (body mass index) range.

Rather than investigating whether factors other than obesity might be responsible for the conditions in question, or even considering this as a possibility, the researchers propose that the criteria for obesity be lowered for Chinese persons, so that the normal-weight patients exhibiting these symptoms can be classified as overweight or obese. Lowering the BMI 'cutoff' used to determine overweight/obesity would, at a stroke, create an 'obesity epidemic' in Hong Kong, which could then provide a convenient explanation for the high incidence of diabetes, hypertension, etc. In terms of identifying other possible causes of these conditions, it would of course be about as helpful as the Marx Brothers' new house. But then exhorting patients to lose weight is much easier than doing proper scientific research. And questioning one's pet theories when faced with contradictory evidence is very hard indeed.