Posts Tagged ‘why health statistics are not good for your health’


3. Stuff Ups 1

June 14, 2013

You go to the doctor with lower back pain.

bad back

The doc recommends an MRI scan. A problem is identified and an operation, perhaps, recommended. But here is the problem. The back problem identified in the scan may not be the cause of the pain.

Risks: health screening

In maths this is called FALSE ATTRIBUTION.

You get all the pain – financial and physical – but no gain.

You will find a very interesting discussion of this problem The Health Report, Radio National, ABC.

Dentists suffer a higher incidence of lower back pain … Maybe from prancing around in towels in front of mirrors. Wait. That was only a small sample of 10 paid dentists.

No conclusion can be drawn.


4. Stuff Ups 2

June 14, 2013

All medical tests are subject to a % error.



This may not be a problem if you are advised to, say, take more Vitamin D to correct the problem you don’t have. But if you are being advised to undergo major surgery, a second test is advisable.

As statistician Michael Blastland explained in Everyday risks: when statistics can’t predict the future (The Guardian 9 JUN 2013):

False positives are common for the simple reason that if you test a million healthy people, even with a 99% accurate test, you will still have 10,000 wrong results. And that’s not including human error. Hopefully, you will not experience one of these:

x ray


9. You’re All gonna Die 2

June 13, 2013

Fat people got no reason

Fat people got no reason

Fat people got no reason

To live

They got big fat hands

Thunder thighs

They plod around

Puffin’ great big sighs

They got littler brains

They got damn iffy backs

They sit on their arses

Asking for heart attacks.

(With apologies to Randy Newman) 

fat people 1

 We are told there is an Obesity Epidemic as if you can catch obesity by standing beside someone packing a bit of cellulite.

If you have to be removed by a crane to get to hospital then you have a health problem. But obesity is presented in the media with such hysteria we could call it a NEGATIVE BIAS. The statistics are rarely questioned. And sometimes, these stats are not so damning.

Take diabetes and obesity statistics. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes.  True.

According to Australian Healthy Weight Week website, an affiliate of the Dieticians Association of Australia, 61% of Australian adults are overweight. Meanwhile, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare puts the prevalence of diabetes in Aussie adults at 4.4% (all forms). Now wrap your head around this number. Even if all the 4.4% of  Aussies with diabetes  were overweight (they’re not), then 92.8% of fat people in Australia don’t have diabetes. But we still think fat people are evil.

fat people 2

They take up too much space

And breathe too much air

They stuff food in their faces

They don’t even care.


Make them fly freight on planes

They’re such a disgrace

 They should keep indoors

Let thin people run the place.


Fat people got nobody

Fat people got nobody

Fat people got nobody

To love them … (except me, I guess.)