With a theatrical flair that included football-themed cookies, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) continued the annual tradition of making a mockery out of 100 programs and studies funded by the federal government that he finds most wasteful.
Overall, the report found $247 billion in wasteful or inefficient federal spending. Among the 100 programs, regulations or studies in the report, one was a $2 million, multiyear study by the National Institutes of Health “about how kids don’t like to eat food that’s been sneezed on.”
According to Lankford’s annual “Federal Fumbles” report, the NIH has funded this grant since 2012, and the grantees have published seven papers discussing their results. In April 2015, the grantees published a paper stating that when children aged 5-8 were given the choice between allegedly sneezed-on food and clean food, they chose the clean food.
“Spending almost $2 million to find out what is already common knowledge is obviously an ineffective use of American tax dollars,” the report said. Instead, the NIH should use its resources on projects that have a true, tangible benefit to all Americans, not on redundant or unnecessary research, it said.
But the NIH defended the study in a statement, saying developmental psychologists have devoted little attention to how young children perceive food.
In the study’s public proposal, the study’s authors said they aimed to explore mechanisms underlying children's food selection, including social influences. It’s important to understand which factors guide children's food reasoning and behavior, since early eating habits influence later practices and health, the proposal said.
“The long-term goal of this research is to design research-supported interventions for promoting healthy eating throughout the lifespan,” the proposal said.
But surely plenty of studies exist on the eating habits of children, so why should the government fund more?
Perhaps one answer lies in a special communication issued in November by JAMA Internal Medicine, which discounted decades-old studies funded by the sugar industry finding that fat, rather than sugar, is the prime contributor of heart disease.
“Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry–funded studies,” the communication stated.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)