To call bollocks on this woman on bbc news...

(85 Posts)
MadBannersAndCopPorn Wed 26-Jun-13 07:28:05

Being breast fed determines social class........ Okay

Well, not entirely. I don't doubt that the study does actually show that being breastfed had some degree of influence on social mobility for people in the two cohorts it actually studied. I just don't think that can be transferred to generalised claims about breastfeeding determining social class.

Lazyjaney Wed 26-Jun-13 22:50:23

They are conflating attributes of being middle class with the benefits of being middle class (bf in the UK is mainly an educated, middle class thing). You would probably get the same conclusions looking at any middle class behaviours, habits, even possessions.

Iirc studies showing bf impacts on intelligence had much the same conflations.

TarkaTheOtter Thu 27-Jun-13 01:45:32

lazeyjane that would be the case if the outcome it were measuring was the social class of the bf child, but from what arbitrary has said it is looking at the change in social class from parent to bf offspring so would have thought conflation not an issue here.

McGeeDiNozzo Thu 27-Jun-13 06:15:09

Sounds like oversimplifying something for the telly if you ask me.

quesadilla Thu 27-Jun-13 06:29:09

I am quite shocked that the BBC could run a report on this without noting the difference between correlation and causation.

"catgirl1976 Wed 26-Jun-13 07:49:31

What a loon

That's like saying eating mushy peas makes you Northern, as opposed to saying mushy peas are more usually eaten by Northerners"

Oi, I'm northern and I never eat mushy peas. Therefore that statement is wrong.
wink

MadBannersAndCopPorn Thu 27-Jun-13 07:08:16

They really brushed over it on the news I think. It's dangerous as people take that little snippet of what they see as fact. They should have done a report on it. When the professor came on he just waffled and spouted stuff we already know about bf. He didn't mention social class. Afterwards I felt more confused!
Yet more reason for parents to think they're doing their children an injustice by not wanting to/ being able to bf

Lazyjaney Thu 27-Jun-13 07:08:22

"Lazeyjane that would be the case if the outcome it were measuring was the social class of the bf child, but from what arbitrary has said it is looking at the change in social class from parent to bf offspring so would have thought conflation not an issue here"

I read the paper, what it proves is that the children of mothers who breastfed for more than 4 weeks were more likely to move up the social scale. It doesnt prove that it was the breastfeeding that did it though, it asserts that as that is what they are measuring.

However it is fairly well known that the bf cohort tends to be more wealthy, child centred and more educated than the average. A lot of the bf research that "proves" extra health or intelligence has the same problem.

IMO they were so keen to prove the superiority of bf they willed a correlation to be a causation.

Lazyjaney Thu 27-Jun-13 07:14:11

To really prove the superiority of bf you probably need to take sibling outcomes from parents who bf one child and ff another, over a large population, as that way you have controlled for the social factors - and then see if there is a significantly better outcome for the bf siblings.

That research has never been done afaik.....

TarkaTheOtter Thu 27-Jun-13 09:05:13

Very easy to control for wealth and parental education so would amaze me if anything published these days that ignored these. Agree that something intangible like how "child centred" parent is could confound in a regular regression though.

Having read the paper now. The authors seem to think that their propensity score matching across two cohorts method has eliminated the chance of bias from confounding factors. I don't know enough about this methodology to comment. Anyone know if the journal is a good one? The authors make lots of claims of causation that seem to have been supported by the peer review process.

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