They call this research?
Children who drank the most milk gained more weight. That conclusion from research at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School got some media attention last week, but the research itself appears to have several holes in it.
1. It is an epidemiological study, where a population group is observed over a period of time. “With epidemiological or observational studies, you can’t control for all of the confounding variables,” says Greg Miller, nutritionist with the National Dairy Board.
2. Because of comfounding variables, there is no way to tell if the kids who drank the most milk also had bigger appetites for food in general, which might explain higher caloric intakes ― and weight gains.
3. Children reported their own data on survey forms.
4. Of the 12,829 children who started the study, only 258 were in the high-weight-gain group that reported data all four years of the study and also consumed more than three servings of milk per day every year.
5. At least one footnoting error appears on a key data chart published in this month’s issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.