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Introduction: Newspaper reports advocating dietary intake changes may impact on dietary choice and food related health beliefs. The scientific basis and quality of evidence underpinning these reports is uncertain. Objective: To evaluate the scientific quality of newspaper reporting related to dietary advice. Design: Articles offering dietary advice from the top ten selling UK newspapers for a randomly selected week were assessed using two established evidence grading scales: developed by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). Results: Of 111 dietary health claims identified, 72% and 68% (assessed by WCRF and SIGN criteria respectively) had levels of evidence lower than the convincing or probable categories that are recommended for dietary health claims. Conclusions: Misreporting of dietary advice by UK newspapers is widespread and may contribute to public misconceptions about food and health. © The Author(s) 2011.

Original publication




Journal article


Public Understanding of Science

Publication Date





664 - 673