Health News Review

This story gave more context and more caveats and in fewer words than a WebMD story on the same study.

Our Review Summary

In 400 words, this story did a better job than its WebMD competition did in 500 words on the same study, namely:

  • stating the limitations of such observational studies
  • pointing to potential confounding factors in such a study

Nonetheless, it still:

  • didn’t provide any independent expert perspective
  • passed along the researchers’ projections (for which independent expert reactions would have been appreciated) that "if the benefits turn out to be real, health care providers might begin advising patients at risk for diabetes not only to exercise and lose weight, but to drink more tea and coffee, too."


Why This Matters

 The flip side is equally true: the benefits may not turn out to be real and that advice may be groundless. 


Criteria

Not Applicable

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

 There was no discussion of costs, but most people know what coffee and tea costs.

Satisfactory

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

 Because the story noted the limitations of an observational study like this, and because it quantified the statistical associations from the study, we give it a satisfactory score on this criterion.

Not Satisfactory

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

 There was no discussion of the potential harms of drinking large quantities of coffee and tea.  There are always tradeoffs. This is worth at least a line.

Satisfactory

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

 The story did mention that the information presented was extracted from a review of the published studies; it went on to explain that a clinical trial would be needed to determine whether the impact of these beverages on diabetes was real. 

Satisfactory

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

 The story did not engage in overt disease mongering. In contrast with the WebMD story, it provided a source when it stated, "Type 2 diabetes, which is often tied to obesity, affects about 8 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases."

Not Satisfactory

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

 No independent sources were quoted in the story.  We especially feel that this was warranted given the inclusion of the researcher’s bold claims of potential impact  of the findings.

Not Satisfactory

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

 While the last line of the story mentioned exercise and diet, there was no context for readers to evaluate how coffee and tea consumption compared to these strategies for reducing the chance of developing type II diabetes.

Not Applicable

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Applicable

The availabilty of coffee and tea is not in question.

Satisfactory

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

 The story began by explaining that this was a follow-up to a previous literature review of the impact of coffee and tea consumption on type II diabetes.

Not Applicable

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

There is no evidence that the story relied solely or largely on a news release. 

Total Score: 4 of 7 Satisfactory


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