Monthly Archives: May 2010

Please Explain: Training Scientists to Be Better Communicators

As readers of my blog appreciate, I have addressed the importance of scientists better communicating with the public.  In the recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education there is a superb article about this.  Please read and share your perspectives (by comment).

By Dennis Meredith
The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 16, 2010

When it comes to persuading the American public about some of the most controversial issues of our time, today’s scientists too often get failing grades. Gallup polls show that only 39 percent of Americans believe in evolution, for example, while 48 percent say global warming is exaggerated and 46 percent say temperature increases are not due to human activity. And despite many recent court rulings asserting that there is no scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism, far too many parents still cling to that dangerous belief and refuse to have their children vaccinated. Continue reading Please Explain: Training Scientists to Be Better Communicators

Bring Back Home Economics Education

Terry D. Etherton

A great article has just been published in the May 12 issue of the  Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  The article Bring Back Home Economics Education was written by Drs. Alice Lichtenstein and David Ludwig of Tufts University and Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA.  The article advocates the need to “bring back” Home Economics education and the role this could play in prevention of adolescent overweight and obesity.

Home Economics, otherwise known as domestic education, was a fixture in secondary schools through the 1960s, at least for girls. The underlying concept was that future homemakers should be educated in the care and feeding of their families. This idea now seems quaint, but in the midst of a pediatric obesity epidemic and concerns about the poor diet quality of adolescents in the United States, instruction in basic food preparation and meal planning skills needs to be part of any long-term solution.

About 35% of adolescents are overweight or obese, a prevalence that approaches 50% in minority populations. Excessive weight among youth affects virtually every organ system and, according to a recent study, increases the risk of premature death. In addition, obesity adversely affects self-esteem, academic accomplishment, and future earning potential of children. Continue reading Bring Back Home Economics Education