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Nutrition Research Integrity: To Believe or Not to Believe? That Is the Question!

Myers, Esther F. PhD, RDN, FAND

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000173
Nutrition Policy
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Nutrition research integrity has become a hotly debated topic. How much confidence we can place in the results of either an individual research study or the recommendations derived from a systematic review that combines multiple studies is crucial in interpreting the research findings. Using research as the basis of public policy is dependent upon the critical appraisal and description of the amount of confidence that can be placed in the research results. In the early 2000s, this was referred to as the “quality” of the individual research study. The methodology has continued to be refined, and more recently, this has been referred to as evaluating the “risk of bias.” This refinement focuses more on the aspects of the research that are likely to compromise whether we can “believe the results” and set the stage for a thoughtful dialogue about the strengths and weaknesses of nutrition research itself, versus focusing on study funding.

Esther F. Myers, PhD, RDN, FAND, is an internationally recognized author and speaker on evidence-based dietetics practice. She served as the chief science officer for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chicago, Illinois, where she led the development of the Academy’s Evidence Analysis Library and development of Nutrition Care Process Terminology until July 2012. She was the chief military consultant to the US Air Force surgeon general on nutrition and dietetics before her retirement from the US Air Force in 2000. She is with EF Myers Consulting, Inc.

The author has received funding to conduct research on the impact of funding on research quality and characterize areas of improvement in nutrition research from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and International Life Sciences Institute-North America. She has since received funding for a second project from International Life Sciences Institute-North America to investigate the risk of bias domains in nutrition research.

Correspondence: Esther F. Myers, PhD, RDN, FAND, 600 N Oak St, Trenton, IL 62293 (efmyers@efmyersconsulting.com).

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