Examine Assumptions and Bias Underlying Evidence

Like everything else, evidence is created with certain values and assumptions in mind. This does not mean we necessarily dismiss the evidence, but rather that we are thoughtful about whether it is a good fit for our project

Example: Consider a common measure used in obesity evidence and information

“Though Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple and convenient measure of relative weight, it does not directly measure body fat or composition. As only weight and height are accounted for, the method cannot distinguish between very muscular individuals and those with excess fat… The BMI may also not be an equally representative measure for individuals with different ancestral origins. “[1]

What does this mean for discussions about obesity?

Ask these questions about the evidence you have:

  • Does the evidence have anything to say about the population or issue that interests you?
  • Who paid for the research?
  • Does the research funder have an interest in the research results?
  • What assumptions were made when the evidence was created?

Sources: [1][2] Donner et al (2008). A profile of women’s health in Manitoba. Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence

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