As researchers consider tackling factors affecting public health only in indirect or distant ways, great care must be taken to retain both the benefits of field expertise and the public credibility of the field. It is not enough to demonstrate that a factor has a first-order causal relationship with some health outcome. Rather, researchers wishing to investigate the distal and indirect relationships must be mindful of retaining the same rigor about causal claims, and the same objectivity as is demanded in more traditional public health policy advice.
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