Objective: To assess the inappropriate use of causal language in studies on obesity and nutrition.
Methods: Titles and abstracts of 525 peer-reviewed papers in the 4 leading journals in the fields of obesity and nutrition were scrutinized for language implying causality in observational studies published in 2006.
Results: Such misleading language appeared in 161 papers (31%) independent of funding source. Remarkably 49% of studies lacking statistically significant primary outcomes used misleading language compared to 29% of those with p values ≤0.05 (chi square p < 0.001). Exculpatory language was present in the body of the text in 19%; of the 161 studies.
Conclusion: We suggest that editors and reviewers evaluate submissions for misleading reporting.
Copyright © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.