Numbers NEED Context

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Numbers NEED Context

  1. Numbers needContext
  2. Although not everyone might agree,Statistics are…
  3. Although not everyone might agree,Statistics are…Interesting
  4. Although not everyone might agree,Statistics are…Interesting Educational
  5. Although not everyone might agree,Statistics are…Interesting Educational Important
  6. But it can often be hard tounderstand them without CONTEXT
  7. Our mediaaboundswith context-lessnumbers
  8. Let’s take a look at a few…
  9. “Bacon increases risk of colorectal cancer by 20%”
  10. “Bacon increases risk of colorectal cancer by 20%”“1 extra unit of alcohol a day increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 12%”
  11. “Bacon increases risk of colorectal cancer by 20%”“1 extra unit of alcohol a day increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 12%”“Just 2 units of alcohol a day reduces risk of heart disease by 17%”
  12. But what do thepercentages reallymean in real life?
  13. And is there a morerelevant way we could be describing this information
  14. “Bacon increases risk of Colorectal cancer by 20%”
  15. But just how bad is that?
  16. Lets assume that ordinarily5 out of 100 people developColorectal cancer.
  17. Therefore if all 100 ate 3 extrarashers every day...The number could rise to six
  18. Therefore if all 100 ate 3 extrarashers every day...The number could rise to six
  19. So therefore…
  20. Bacon increasesSo therefore… risk of Colorectal cancer by 20%
  21. Bacon increasesSo therefore… risk of Colorectal cancer by 20%Is the exactsame as saying
  22. Bacon increasesSo therefore… risk of Colorectal cancer by 20% AboutIs the exact 1 extra case persame as saying 100 people
  23. Next up…
  24. “One extra unit of alcohol a day increases a womans risk of breast cancer by 12%”
  25. But just how bad is that?
  26. Let’s assume about 10 out of 100women have breast cancer in alifetime
  27. If all 100 drink an extra unit a day,that number rises to 11.
  28. If all 100 drink an extra unit a day,that number rises to 11.
  29. So therefore…
  30. One extra unit of alcohol a day increasesSo therefore… a womans risk of breast cancer by 12%”
  31. One extra unit of alcohol a day increasesSo therefore… a womans risk of breast cancer by 12%”Is the exactsame as saying
  32. One extra unit of alcohol a day increasesSo therefore… a womans risk of breast cancer by 12%” AboutIs the exact 1 extra case persame as saying 100 people
  33. And Finally…
  34. “Just two units a day reduces risk of heart disease by 17%”
  35. But just how GOOD is that?
  36. About 32 out of 100 women havecoronary heart disease in a lifetime.
  37. If all 100 were to drink 2 units ofalcohol every day… that numberwould fall to 27
  38. If all 100 were to drink 2 units ofalcohol every day… that numberwould fall to 27
  39. So therefore…
  40. Just two units a daySo therefore… reduces risk of heart disease by 17%
  41. Just two units a daySo therefore… reduces risk of heart disease by 17%Is the exact sameas saying
  42. Just two units a daySo therefore… reduces risk of heart disease by 17% AboutIs the exact same 5 fewer cases peras saying 100 people
  43. So we have a little problem
  44. Depending on the story
  45. 20% can equal1 person in 100
  46. 20% can equal1 person in 10012% can equal1 person in 100
  47. 20% can equal1 person in 10012% can equal1 person in 10017% can equal5 people in 100
  48. So…
  49. Percentage figures withoutCONTEXT are meaningless andcan often misleading
  50. When talking about healthmatters it isn’t enough to dealwith percentages
  51. Think about number oflives affected
  52. And…
  53. We must hold our media toaccount and ensure thatjournalists do not go for theFLASHY, SHINY and TRENDY(not to mention misleading) sounding storyrather than the more relevantand helpful one...
  54. Because…
  55. Those… “Who might rely on thenews for guidance, deservesomething more relevant”(M. Blastland)
  56. You can find me at:www.clearpreso.comwww.twitter.com/clearpreso
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