This session considers the technical issues associated with the development and use of the evidence base for public health. The problems of using the techniques of evidence based medicine for constructing public health guidance will be outlined. The methodological and philosophical challenges associated with the nature of the variables involved, the breadth of the evidence, the causal chains form interventions to outcomes will be analysed. The importance of the judgement process in interpreting evidence will be described. The methodological and practical problems in developing recommendations at population level will be considered and he interface between recommendations, policy and politics described. The difference between scientific judgements and political judgements will be outlined.
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