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Nutrition/Health Risk Communication Revisited: Are You Communicating Like Spock or Captain Kirk?

Rowe, Sylvia B. MA; Alexander, Nick BA

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000120
Nutrition Communication Column

How sure are you that you are on nutritionally sound ground—in your own eating behavior and in your conversations with family, friends, and colleagues? Put another way, how do you know that what you believe about food is right? Is there any risk that what you and I believe is wrong? Actually, there is always a risk that the current science on any given nutrition subject is wrong or is in error and that subsequent research will correct the error and move on. Science is evolving, not static. But how do you communicate that?

Sylvia B. Rowe, MA, is currently president of SR Strategy pursuing communications and issues management consulting on a broad range of health, nutrition, food safety, and risk issues. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Nick Alexander, BA, is a former senior media counselor for the IFIC Foundation, Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor’s of arts degree from Harvard University. A former network correspondent with ABC News, he has been tracking and writing about science communications issues and the evolving challenge to public acceptance of credible science for the past decade.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Sylvia B. Rowe, MA, 1100 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 430, Washington, DC 20036-4120 (

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