Lifestyle Economics

The Dire State of Public Health Science


In the Media

Tom Clougherty quoted in The Express

Christopher Snowdon writes for The Critic

IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon has written for The Critic questioning the scientific rigour of public health studies after new research was published criticising exemptions to mandatory calorie labelling on menus for small businesses.

Christopher wrote:

“The authors claim that their study is the “first evaluation of the likely impact of the menu calorie labelling regulation” in England, but it is not an evaluation at all. It contains no information about the real world impact of calorie labelling since it was introduced. No data on food sales or calorie consumption have been collected. The study simply models what the authors reckon might have happened based on experiments conducted long before the law was changed.

“The authors assume that menu labelling makes people consume 47 fewer calories per restaurant meal and make various calculations based on that. Have people in England been eating 47 fewer calories per restaurant meal since calorie labelling was introduced? We don’t know because nobody has tried to find out.

“In London, which has the highest rate of child obesity in the country, a ban on ‘junk food’ advertising on public transport led to households consuming 1,000 fewer calories a week, according to another ludicrous model. All of this is based on theoretical counterfactuals that are not remotely credible and yet are unfalsifiable by their nature.”

Read Christopher’s full piece here.