OCTOBER Foodie Inspired Events Happening in NYC!

10/1/15-10/18/15 – Food Truck Rally

10/5/15 – Let Us Eat Local

10/6/15 – Book Talk — “Soda Politics” by Dr. Marion Nestle

10/12/15 – Book & Film: “After Winter, Spring” – New York Special Screening

10/16/15- FOODi: Food, Business & Technology

10/17/15 – Eating Through Time Festival

10/19/15 -10/20/15 – James Beard Foundation Conference: Rethinking the Future of Food

10/24/15 – Rodale’s Organic Life Farm2Fork Festival: Slow Down Dinner

10/26/15 – The Manhattan Slur – Dig Inn

Every Saturday of October – Hester Street Fair

General Body Meeting

General Body Meeting_Oct 2015

Join FPOP for the first general body meeting of fall 2015! We will be sharing all the great events we have planned this fall, introducing the e-board to the incoming class and sharing a great lunch! If you are interested in joining the e-board or signing up for a working group this will be a great time to learn more about these positions and ask any questions! Hope to see you there on October 1st!

An Epidemic of Bad Research and Reporting

An Epidemic of Bad Research and Reporting

By: Sarah Kunkle

Original Publication found here: http://thevitalityinstitute.org/an-epidemic-of-bad-research-and-reporting/

Earlier this summer, the popular science and technology blog io9 ran a story that caught the eyes of many: “I Fooled Millions into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss.” Over the course of the article, John Bohannan, a science journalist, describes his elaborate hoax and laments the state of both nutrition research and science reporting. Unfortunately, this is all too common.

Although the study was real, it was intentionally plagued by methodological and analytical flaws, including an extremely small sample size and large number of measurements that gave the study a greater than 60 percent chance of finding at least one statistically significant result. To address these issues, some journals are considering getting rid of p-values (a measure indicating how likely it is that study results are due to chance) and many do not accept studies with fewer than 30 subjects. Nevertheless, many low quality studies still end up published in peer-reviewed journals.

Nutrition research is particularly vulnerable to biased results because of its dependence on self-reporting. A recent Mayo Clinic Proceedings article argued that memory-based dietary assessment methods were “fundamentally and fatally flawed” and should not be used to inform dietary guidelines. Organizations like the Nutrition Science Initiative are trying to combat these issues by funding more rigorous (and expensive) studies. While the evidence is inconclusive for some nutrition research questions, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee seems to be a step in the right direction with its emphasis on minimally processed wholesome foods rather than specific nutrients.

In addition to poor quality research, bad reporting further complicates the issue. As Bohannon notes, reporters covering topics such as nutrition or broader scientific research should not merely echo what they read in press releases: “you have to know how to read a scientific paper – and actually bother to do it.” Readers should be especially weary of articles that do not mention sample size and effect size.

Bohannan is not alone in his views. Lancet editor Richard Horton recently published a commentary on bad scientific practices, claiming, “much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” Increased public awareness and transparency are likely to ameliorate the problem. In the meantime, both reporters and readers should be cautious as they digest health headlines – if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.

How to avoid getting duped by overblown health claims (via Quartz)

1. Are humans involved? If the claims are based on a study done in mice, the results are not necessarily applicable to humans.
2. What is the sample size? Be skeptical of results that involve less than 100 people and fairly skeptical of those that involve less than 1,000 people.
3. What type of study? Study design matters. Systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials are generally the most reliable for testing hypotheses.
4. Is it correlation or causation? Relevant to the point above on study design, most health studies draw mere correlations rather than direct causes.
5. What are the study’s limitations? A good health story will not only explain the results, but also discuss the study’s limitations and why you shouldn’t trust the claim fully.

July Event!

Happy summer FPOP fans!

For the last few years, the Mailman School has hosted the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) young global leaders. This group is comprised of a cohort of future leaders under 40 years old from around the world who serve in the program for 6 years. The goal of the program is to give them the knowledge base and connections to look for and implement innovative solutions for problems solving. By being part of this program, the school introduces these young leaders to public health while usually honing in on one particular public health issue each year.

This year, the public health component will focus on obesity and physical activity. Over the course of the 2-week program, a few of our faculty – including Claire Wang, Andrew Rundle and Heather Greenlee – will lead sessions on these topics, looking at the environmental, social and other risk factors to this issue. The fellows, in turn, will develop proposals for how to address this epidemic. On Friday, July 17th, they will present their proposals to a panel for larger discussion. Included on the panel will be Dean Fried, Steven Newmark, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sara Vernon Sterman, VP, Strategic Investments, the Reinvestment Fund, and Radha Agrawal, Founder and CEO, Super Sprowtz – a story-driven nutrition program, which uses entertainment and puppetry to educate kids about healthy eating habits.

WEF would very much like to invite members from our community, especially students, to listen to this discussion. The details for the event are below.

DATE // LOCATION // Friday, July 17 // Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive

10:45-12:15 // Pitches and presentations

RSVP here!
Maria O’Brien: Senior Director of Special Projects with the Dean’s Office // Email: mag177@columbia.edu

Local Roots NYC

Local Roots NYC: Buy Local Community Supported Agriculture!
Local Roots is committed to local food culture rooted in community, accessibility and innovation. By joining the CSA, Local Roots brings the farm to you! You can sign up for 12 weeks of organic, local produce of your choice and pick it up weekly at a site near you. It’s a great way to eat fresh, stay healthy, and support your local farmers.
Local Roots proudly serves: Harlem, South Street Seaport, Boerum Hill, Bushwick, Carroll Gardens, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, East Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Kips Bay, Ridgewood, South Slope, and Williamsburg. They also do home delivery!
For more information check out localrootsnyc.org or email Jacqui Cotton from FPOP at jnc2144@columbia.edu if you have any questions!
Join Local Roots for some pre-summer fun! The CSA is celebrating its 4th Anniversary with The Good Festival this Friday, April 24th at Tiny Montgomery at Threes Brewing in Brooklyn. Entry is only $5 for a night of live music, cooking demonstrations, and workshops with local food initiatives. Funds will be used to  create more educational material about sustainable cooking and to bring more classes to NYC schools regarding healthy eating choices and supporting a local food system.
Check out the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1434771286821800/Local-Roots-NYC-The-Good-Festival-2015-poster-662x1024

Why Do We Get Fat? An Ongoing Debate

A post written by our very own Treasurer – Sarah Kunkle on tomorrow’s special lecture by Mr. Gary Taubes. Interested in hearing more about this controversial issue? Join us tomorrow April 21st at 4:00 pm at the P&S Faculty Club. RSVP to cu.fpop@gmail.com

Columbia Public Health: Student Voices

By Students for Food Policy and Obesity Prevention

On Tuesday, April 21st at 4:00 pm, FPOP, OSA, GSA, SPIM, and the Department of Epidemiology will host science writer Gary Taubes for a special Public Health Fights Obesity Month lecture: Why We Get Fat: Adiposity 101 and an Alternative Hypothesis of Obesity. Mr. Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, is a co-founder of the non-profit Nutrition Science Initiative, a recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, and a three-time winner of the National Association of Science Writers Science in Society Journalism Award.


Mr. Taubes is also a controversial figure in the world of nutrition and dietary science, despite his best–selling status. Since his 2002 New York Times article, “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie,”…

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Recipes to Survive the Food Desert

Columbia Public Health: Student Voices

by Vienna McLeod in the Department of Epidemiology and Co-Vice President of Communications for Students for Food Policy and Obesity Prevention (FPOP), MPH’ 16  

Inspired by Mailman’s Obesity Prevention Month (which started yesterday with a talk led by nutrition policy expert, Marion Nestle) I woke up this past Sunday morning, made myself a smoothie and then began to prep this week’s lunches, dinners, snacks, and fourth meals from three recipes I found on the New York Times website. All New Yorkers make decisions about how to spend their budget. I fall into a cohort of individuals who skip the apartment in Chelsea I can spend my dollars on the kind of food that feeds my body, mind, and soul. Even still, eating on a graduate student’s budget does not make this an easy task. Neither does living in what I would consider the food desert that is Washington Heights…

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