Re “Daily meat diet tied to higher chance of early death” (Page A1, March 24): The way some reporters are exaggerating the latest National Cancer Institute study on meat and mortality, you’d think a sirloin apocalypse is just around the corner. But all this hamburger hubbub is really a great example of what’s wrong with today’s health reporting.

The NCI researchers have been careful to caution that they could only tease out a modest link between eating meat and kicking the bucket. And they admit that people in their study who died early could have succumbed to other factors that had nothing to do with their diets. Those with the shortest life span were smokers, and they didn’t exercise. (They also tended to be married, but no one is suggesting divorce as a life-saving strategy.)

Unfortunately, some health-conscious Americans will be scrambling to empty out their meat lockers instead of doing the simple things that are guaranteed to make them healthier. Eat everything in moderation. Don’t smoke. Get some exercise.

It’s too bad this time-tested advice can’t seem to compete with gloomy, flavor-of-the-month health scares.

– David Martosko, Washington, D.C.
director of research, Center for Consumer Freedom