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Fake Nutrition/Health News, Part 3

How (and Why) Did We Get Here?

Rowe, Sylvia MA; Alexander, Nick BA

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000355
Nutrition Communication
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The third in a 3-part series of articles on so-called “fake news” regarding health and nutrition science focuses specifically on false scientific news—exaggerated or misleading reporting of research, reporting of fabricated or fraudulent research, misleading press releases, and communication of Web-based scientific fantasies. The authors explore the origins of such misinformation and its context within the current proliferation of similar unhelpful “news” throughout the broader society. They call for educational efforts at helping the public better recognize scientific misinformation, and they offer suggestions on how nutrition and other health communicators might make consumers more aware and more skeptical of such claims as nutritional “cures,” medical “breakthroughs,” “miracle foods,” and alarming health scares in news reports.

Sylvia Rowe, MA, is currently president of SR Strategy, which addresses the science to communications to policy continuum on a broad range of global 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, Boston, Massachusetts.

Nick Alexander, BA, is former senior media counselor for the International Food Information Council Foundation located in Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is a former network correspondent with ABC News in New York. For more than the past decade, Mr Alexander has tracked and written about science communications issues and the evolving challenge to public acceptance of credible science.

Correspondence: Sylvia Rowe, MA, SR Strategy, 1100 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 600, Washington, DC 20036 (rowe@srstrategy.com).

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