In this paper, a teaching strategy that exploits misleading media articles covering peer-reviewed research is described. This task attempts to encourage university students to not take media articles on obesity physiology at face value. Briefly, the task is divided into three main sections: 1) information on the study and media headlines is provided, and students complete a blank template with hypothetical data reflective of the headlines; 2) a consensus is met on hypothetical data that would accurately reflect the media headlines; and 3) true data are revealed and discussion takes place as to how accurate the media headlines are with respect to the published data. This task has been piloted in two cohorts (n = 149 students), and feedback has been collated from 79 of these students. Overall, it appears that this task was well received [student rating (mean ± SD): 4 ± 1 arbitrary units on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = poor and 5 = excellent]. Feedback highlighted key aspects to consider when delivering this session are the suitability of the room, and a re-emphasis of the aims and outcomes of the session at the end. In summary, this paper describes a teaching strategy that makes use of media articles reporting on published studies in an attempt to promote critical thinking in undergraduate students. Whilst the example provided covers the physiology of obesity, this can be readily applied to other physiological topics.
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