SIRC Media Watch Archive
Comment and Opinion – November 2000

Fickle precaution. A commentary in The Lancet on the possible risks of mobile phones makes interesting reading given the Government's decision to issue health warnings on the use of such phones. "No evidence of risk doesn't mean phones are safe" seems to be the generally accepted wisdom in the light of the recent BSE problems. The Lancet, however, steps aside briefly from the issue of the risks themselves to consider what seems to us to be the more important issue here – the things which actually influence people's behaviour. The author of the comment piece, Philip Denby, notes: "public perception of safety will be heavily influenced by the perceived level of benefit from the activity in question. This level is clearly high in the case of mobile telephones and in many other domains where individuals exercise freedom of choice." More.

Let them eat cake! Yet another study has now added weight (no pun intended) to SIRC's warnings on the dangers of restricting children's access to 'unhealthy' foods. According to a Reuters report on a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, restricting the diets of young girls has, yet again, been shown to increase their consumption of 'forbidden' foods while also increasing their sense of guilt and shame about eating such foods – a classic recipe for the development of eating disorders. Full story.