Analysis of Newspaper Research Report

830 Words May 1st, 2007 4 Pages
Analysis of Newspaper Research Report
Cynthia Cohen
University of Phoenix
BSN0524 – HCS438
Rebecca Cowens-Alvarado, MPH
March 25, 2007
Analysis of Newspaper Research Report
This paper will discuss an article published in (2007, March) by Lindsey Tanner, explaining a recent research study which found that the Atkins diet beat three other diets for weight loss over a one year period. The actual research study appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on March 21, 2007. Though the findings revealed greater weight loss for the Atkins participants, this paper will discuss the reasons why the study may be flawed, and its results not appropriate for making inferences regarding the public at large.
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The research (alternate) hypothesis for the study is that the women following a low carbohydrate diet (Atkins group) will lose more weight than those following the other three diets. As per the Tanner article, the JAMA study found the weight loss in the Atkins group to be statistically significant, thereby causing researchers to reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternate hypothesis. There are however, several issues with this study that challenge its validity.
According to the study abstract in JAMA (2007, March), researchers used a significance level of p < .05 to determine that the weight loss difference between subjects was statistically significant. If the significance level is only marginally acceptable, one must challenge the true statistical significance. Since the women originally weighed an average of 189 pounds, even a mean loss of 10 pounds on the Atkins diet still leaves them overweight at 179 pounds, which shows that the study is not practically significant. At the end of one year, all the women weighed between 179 and 185.5 pounds regardless of the diet they followed. The other issue is that only pre-menopausal women were studied, so the results cannot be applied with certainty to older women or to men. The Tanner article also presents the confounding factor that most of the women in all groups did not adhere to their

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