Medical News Today story on the benefits of eating chocolate during pregnancy falls short on the title and reporting of claims
The news article in Medical News Today, written by Honor Whiteman, was reporting a benefit to fetal health if a pregnant mother consumes 30 g of chocolate every day. The news article does a good job at highlighting flaws in the study, including the lack of a control group and the lack of significant difference between the chocolate groups. The title, intend to defy convention, suggests a greater result than the study concluded. The researchers concluded that no speculation relating consumption of chocolate to improved fetal outcomes can be made. Thus, aspects of these results from the research article were overstated in the news story.
Overall, The article was well grammatically well written and sourced. This article was reporting the results of a single quality study, thus the article lacked multiple perspectives. The authors background is available on Medical News Today, with access to other articles she has written.
The article title defies convention, likely with the intention of drawing readers in. The title also overstates the conclusions made by the researchers that was published in the journal. The title makes it seem like a small addition, like eating chocolate, will improve the health of your baby. To the news story’s credit, later in the article, the flaws of the study were discussed. The sources used are available for the published study that is referenced and are accessible.
The title and pictures on article somewhat sensationalize chocolate consumption during pregnancy and paint the idea in a positive light. Some aspects of research are exaggerated or minimized depending on how it fits the narrative. However, the grammar, writing style, pronouns, and vocabulary are all appropriate. A big positive is that words that the audience may not understand are explained. The author’s social media is available, as well as history of other articles they have written, indicating transparency of the news outlet. Quotes pulled directly from the published study highlight key findings and are not cherry picked.
In this article, Honor Whiteman, aims to summarize present findings regarding a study performed on the effects of 30 mg of chocolate in pregnant women. The article is overall reliable and factual. However, the main problem with this article lies in the selective highlighting of certain features of the research article (i.e. that chocolate intake has been positively correlated with positive birth outcomes) while minimizing other aspects. For example, the lack of control group is presented with little context such that a reader without a scientific background may have issues with understanding the full implications of not having a control group. While the article may be slightly misleading it commits no major violations other categories.
The title of article is clickbait and overstates the claims made in the research article. Overall, the most troubling concern regarding accuracy is that the claims from the article are not communicated effectively. There was only one perspective provided and the claims from the original research article were overstated in some regard. Furthermore, the article did not make it clear that this correlation is not the same as causation.
The article is well written and has no glaring flaws; however, the author minimizes certain aspects of the study (i.e. the lack of control group) and uses language that may be hard for an audience without a science background to understand. The article is generally accessible in regard to sourcing, and author information, but the original article is paywalled, which makes it difficult for an average reader to further investigate the claims made in this article. The presentation is appropriate and professional, as it violates none of the presentation criteria.
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