Just recently, Bloomberg Businessweek announced there may be a connection between a certain strain of the cold virus, AD36, and childhood obesity. Though there could be a link between the two, there is no proof that there is causation. Using the six principles of critical thinking may help evaluate this claim.
One of the most important critical thinking principles to look at while examining this claim is that correlation isn't causation. Just because there may be an association between AD36 and childhood obesity, does not necessarily mean that AD36 causes childhood obesity. There may be other important variables, such as the third variable problem, that should also be factored into the equation. For example, maybe children living with obesity have weaker immune systems, and are more susceptible to AD36. Ruling out rival hypotheses is another critical thinking principle to look at in response to this article. The article discussed how AD36 can result in a greater chance of having childhood obesity. Though this may be true, the article did not include any other plausible explanations. Another important principle of critical thinking to examine while inspecting this claim is replicability. The article did state that other studies working with animals and human adults have come up with similar results. Though this shows some level of replicability, the article never mentioned any other studies done on children. This may be due to how recently these results have been reported and discussed in news articles.
Though there may be some validity to this claim, there is just not enough evidence to conclude it is completely legitimate. One of the most important factors to examine while looking at the majority of claims is correlation versus causation. In order for this claim to become more reliable, it needs to be replicated as well as examined for possible variables influencing this study's results.
Can A Cold Cause Childhood Obesity?
TrackBack URL: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/158608