No, really, I do not believe this

The report says: “Estimates suggest that three quarters of the population could be suffering from the effects of heart disease, diabetes and related illnesses within two decades, which is a significant jump.


I\’d
believe that 3/4 might suffer from these towards the end of their lives: after all, there\’s not much else other than cancer left now that we\’ve pretty much killed off communicable diseases*.

But 75% of the entire population?

Nah, they\’re \’avin\’ a larff

*Hyperbole alert.

11 comments on “No, really, I do not believe this

  1. Ah, but you’re neglecting those three important words. “and related illnesses” So what’s being measured is how successfully the health scare industry can tie in any medical condition, including athlete’s foot or a dose of the crabs, to the assumed causes of heart disease & diabetes. In which case, on current progress, three-quarters seems a very modest projection.

  2. The deathrate attributed to heart attacks has been declining ever since stats on it began to be collected post WW2. We’re fatter, do less exercise and are unlikely to supplement rations with veg from the allotment. Methinks the medical, pharmacological and diet industries are not disinterested parties.

  3. The medical director of the NHS produces a report that says the NHS needs another few billion a year for the next 17 years because in 17 years time 3/4 of the population will be cripples.

    Yeah, right.

    Being a professor and a knight doesn’t stop you making up numbers to get a bung then, does it?

    Really, the medical profession is in roughly the same position as the aircraft industry in 1930. Anyone making a prediction using data from 1903 to 1930 would have looked pretty silly in 1947.

    Given that the human genome was mapped in 2003, a mere 10 years ago, I don’t think I’d be predicting the rate of increase of genetic diseases like heart disease and diabetes in quite such a cavalier way.

  4. this is like the statistic for prostate cancer – thanks to increased longevity most men die *with* prostate cancer; however not that many actually die *of* prostate cancer

  5. ”Estimates suggest… could…” = not a ‘kin clue, but we’ve got to write something sensational to justify us having wasted taxpayers’ money.

    The estimate is perhaps a little low, because everyone over the age of 21 is suffering from the effects of heart disease and many others, as their arteries lose tone, physiology changes, organs start a long process of failure, cell regeneration slows down and ultimately everyone will die of a heart attack… because that’s the way we are genetically programmed.

    Yawn. Next.

    Oh by the by. What happened to that AIDS iceberg and the cVJD time bomb set to have gone off around now?

    And Global Warming is soooooooooo yesterday and soooooooo not happening so we need new stuff to frighten the children to do as we tell them.

  6. Yes, pretty sure that both the “extrapolate to infinity” and “making shit up” fallacies are prominent here.

  7. As John Brignell at NumberWatch pointed out, if 30% each of people died of heart disease, cancer and stroke, and the other 10% died of Alzheimers, then an Alzheimers cure would be spun as “new drug increases risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke by 11%, say experts.”

  8. What we’ve got here is a story in a low-quality newspaper pulling a sentence out of a report it can’t be bothered to link to. And the sentence starts “Estimates suggest…” with no indication of who’s making the estimates, or on what basis.

    You can read the report here. The thrust of it is that we need more nurses, because we are keeping older, sicker people alive. But on page 21 you will read:

    Obesity causes damage to the cardiovascular system that remains hidden for most people until they reach older age. Estimates suggest a three quarters increase over the next two decades in the population that could be suffering from the effects of heart disease, diabetes and related illnesses as a result of rising obesity. (NHS Choices 2012) (Wang, McPherson, Marsh, Gortmaker, Brown 2011)

    Oh look, the text the Telegraph has put in quotation marks is not in fact a quote at all. In the report it’s not “three quarters of the population”, it’s a “three quarters increase”.

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