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

Naming and Praising Awards – February 2004

Yet another SIRC ‘Naming and Praising’ Award goes to Jeremy Laurance, the Independent’s Health Editor, for two of his recent articles.

In a piece headed Health Check: ‘There was something strange about the study. The data appeared to contain much that was good news for drinkers’ on 2 February, he comments on a study published in the journal Addiction. Unlike other journalists who were content simply to parrot the ‘warning to women’ spin that the study’s authors chose to put on their findings, Laurance took the trouble to look at the data, which actually indicated that ‘heavier’ drinkers had a lower risk of heart disease and premature death than moderate drinkers. He put this point to the lead author of the study, who conceded that "You haven’t said anything that is factually incorrect but I would urge caution on that interpretation". He concludes, rather charitably, that the researchers’ interpretation was perhaps "subconsciously" influenced by their anxiety not to undermine ‘sensible drinking’ messages.

In Advice to avoid sun should be reversed, say cancer experts, on 31 January, Laurance examines another tenet of health-correctness: the notion that ‘there is no such thing as a healthy tan’ — and again shows that even its advocates know that this warning exaggerates the risks and is probably draconian and unnecessary, or, as they put it, "rather strident".

This is the kind of accurate, intelligent, responsible reporting – treating readers as adults who can cope with uncertainties and shades of grey — that the SIRC/RS/RI Guidelines and the SIRC ‘Naming and Praising’ Awards are trying to encourage.

Kate Fox

03 February 2004