Topic of the Week
June 12th, 2017
The Wonderful World of Research
The fitness and nutrition “industry” many times relies on the hopes, fears and comparative ignorance of the American public to sell products. Whether it be equipment, foods, supplements or diet plans, the problem is not in getting information to the public, it is getting the public to accurately assess how much of the information they are receiving is credible. It is quite easy for any group or organization even remotely related to the “industry” to tout “proof” that their system, plan or product is just what you need. Many times (nearly always actually) research is mentioned or referenced to back up their claim. Additionally, the wording of these seemingly research-based pronouncements is not the only issue concerning fraud and misinformation campaigns to get the consumer to buy the “product”. In many cases, it is the research itself that is to blame. It is the personal politics in the guise of “science” as well as other factors in research that makes the final conclusions or findings a little shaky.
First, most research is done and is accomplished using small groups (for ease of data collection and ease of what is known as “protocol” application). Sadly, the smaller the group involved in the “study” the less accurate the findings. Research results from groups of study participants of twenty or less are generally considered by statisticians and scientists as nearly meaningless. Also, the way in which comparative groups are picked for ultimate comparisons (such as an “experimental group” versus a “control group”) are rarely matched properly for initial quality of factors (especially in tests of things such as athletic speed, strength, nutrition, etc.) which can easily lend the comparisons to gross inaccuracies.
But the big flaw is, many times, the financial support for research. It is not unusual, for example, for research to be underwritten by companies, groups or organizations that have a vested interest in a positive outcome for their own product or methodology. This puts immense pressure on the “researchers” (many of them representing universities whose professors are required to “publish or perish” when it comes to the volume of research that they must accomplish) to create results that are somewhat in line with the group that is financially supporting the research. Combine this unseemly relationship with the corporate wordsmiths that can incorrectly apply the research “results” to match their own profit and the first victim is the unsuspecting public looking for a miracle cure or easy answer and the second victim is the truth. So be sure to take some time to critically analyze product and program information that is based on research. A good example is the somewhat flawed research that once claimed that milk drinkers lost more fat than non-milk drinkers. Who financially supported these “study” results and subsequent follow-up research? The American Dairy Council. Although well intentioned as many companies and groups seem to be, it takes a wary consumer to separate the fact from the fiction and the truth from mere conjecture.
I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and that’s the “Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Week. Good luck with YOUR program. I KNOW you can do it!
Originally published on September 02, 2017 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau