Motherhood in Western Europe

Insights from Western European Mothers

The changing face of motherhood — Western Europe

The accompanying reports combine a review of existing literature with an analysis of original quantitative data derived from a poll of 9,582 mothers from 12 countries in Western Europe, making it one of the largest studies of this kind ever conducted

Child Obesity and Health

An analysis of the latest available data from the Health Survey for England (HSE)

Child Obesity and Health — download the full report in pdf format

In this ‘National Childhood Obesity Week’, the SIRC report, Children, obesity and heath: Recent trends, holds up a true mirror, accurately reflecting the trend towards slimmer, healthier children. more

The Future of Freemasonry

An examination of the role of Freemasonry in the 21st century


This report is, as far as we know, an account of the first ever study that has been commissioned by Freemasons from a non-Masonic body. None of the SIRC members involved in the project are Freemasons, a fact that evoked surprise and welcome in equal measure from the Lodge members we met. more

The Changing Face of Motherhood

Insights from three generations of mothers


The report seeks to answer some specific questions about the changing face of motherhood and determine the extent to which modern ‘solutions’ to motherhood are more or less beneficial than the solutions of the past. 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.

SIRC has been highlighting the dangers of over-zealous promotion of 'healthy eating' for some time (see The dangers of teenage dieting, The hidden dangers of policing school food, Dieting damage, Part of the problem, etc.) and trying to persuade the government to adopt a more rational approach to policy and communication on nutrition issues. The Food Standards Agency has taken the same line, and avoided creating a 'forbidden-fruit effect' in its latest recommendations on school meals (see School meals: a new diet of reason). But parents should also be warned that restricting children's access to snack foods, will, as the authors of this latest study conclude, "promote the type of eating behaviour that parents explicitly intend to avoid in their use of restriction". The moral of the story? If you want your daughter to grow up with a healthy attitude to food and a positive self-image: let her eat cake.