Mediterranean Diet Helps Bones

By Kristina Eriksen

Article Summary

My article, “Mediterranean Diet Wins Again, Helps Bones,” was published on CNN.com and was last updated on March 28th, 2016. The author is Morgan Manella. The article summarizes the results of a study by JAMA Internal Medicine to determine if women’s postmenopausal diet quality has an effect on their bone health. The study included data from 90,014 women whose average age was 64. These women were asked to describe their diet at the beginning of the study using a food questionnaire and the researchers then compared each of their diets to four different diets – the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, and two others the article does not specify. The researchers then looked at the women 16 years later to compare the frequency of fractures in women with each of these diets. Women whose diets most closely resembled the Mediterranean diet were 0.29% less likely to experience a hip fracture compared to women who did not stick to that diet ("Mediterranean diet wins again", 2016). They conclude that a Mediterranean diet may play a small part in preventing fractures in postmenopausal women by maintaining bone health.

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Article Critique

The Author

The author, Morgan Manella, has no credentials listed next to her name in the article, nutrition-related or otherwise. After performing a Google search on the author, I found out that she is an intern at CNN’s Health and Medical Unit (http://www.morganmanella.com/cnn.html). Because the author does not have any college education in nutrition and is not an expert in dietetics, she is not a nutrition expert and therefore is not a credible source for nutrition-related information (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 35).

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The Article Source

Our textbook has a table listing a variety of credible sources for nutrition information, including government agencies, volunteer health agencies, journals, professional health organizations, and nutrition and food science programs at different colleges or universities (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 35). The importance of looking at the "tag" of a website is also emphasized, noting that .gov and .edu websites come from government agencies and schools and are likely credible (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 36); many credible sources also have websites with a .org tag (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 35). My article originates from CNN.com, a news website with a .com tag; because it does not meet any of the specifications noted in the textbook, it is not a reliable source for nutrition-related information. It is even stated that the media can "hardly help omitting important facts about the study or studies" in their nutrition articles and "often broadcast preliminary findings in hopes of grabbing attention and boosting ratings," (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 33). Therefore, CNN.com is not a reliable source of nutrition-related information.

The Article Information

The article is summarizing a study called "Dietary Patterns and Fractures in Postmenopausal Women" completed by JAMA Internal Medicine which was published online on their website on March 28th, 2016 and is linked to in my original CNN article itself. The study was a properly conducted scientific experiment, with ample information for the study to be replicated by others making the article at least based on scientific evidence (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 33). The article also has multiple MDs, PhDs, and an RD listed in the authors section, showing the authors are credible sources for some nutrition-related information also (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 35). However, the study was published on the organization's personal website, which ends with a .com tag, and the results did not have to be peer-reviewed before being published like it would have if it was published in a respected scientific journal, making this article not very reliable for information (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 34-35). Our textbook also mentions that scientists "recognize the inadequacy of personal testimonials," (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 33); the researchers in this study used the WHI food frequency questionnaire to determine a baseline of nutrient and food intake from each of the participants and then used other tools to determine which diet they most adhered to. While a food frequency is a tool used to determine food intake, it has multiple disadvantages including the fact that the questionnaires rely on the participant's memory, serving sizes are hard for participants to estimate on their own, and calculated nutrient intakes may be inaccurate (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 387). The article also reports that there was only a 0.29% decreased risk of a hip fracture only among the women whose diet most closely resembled a Mediterranean diet. The article claims this finding is significant enough to state that the Mediterranean diet can help maintain bone health in postmenopausal women, however because the results are not peer-reviewed and the source and author of the article are not credible sources of nutrition-related information the takeaway from the article should be taken with a grain of salt. The Mediterranean diet does "support good health and long life" (DeBruyne, 2014, p. 355), however it takes more than one study to make the claim that it can also prevent hip fractures in postmenopausal women.

References

DeBruyne, L.K., & Pinna, K. (2014). Nutrition for health and health care (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


Manella, M. (2016, March 28). "Mediterranean diet wins again, helps bones". CNN. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/28/health/mediterranean-diet-wins-again-helps-bones/