Dodgy statistic hunt of the day

Last night Baroness Parminter told The Daily Telegraph: “I am concerned by the timebomb that we have of obesity – particularly among children; we have 500,000 children who have liver disease because of obesity.

Now where does that number come from?

It\’s certainly not true that someone has counted all the children being treated by the NHS for obesity related liver disease.

As far as I can tell, the number of inpatient FCS (Finished Consultant Episodes) for children (4-15 years old) was 530,000 for England and Wales last year.

So all children being seriously treated are being treated for liver disease brought on by obesity. Or the liver disease being brought on by obesity isn\’t sufficiently bad to be treated by a consultant. Or there\’s a hell of a lot of it in Scotland and NI.

Or the figure\’s been cooked up somewhere.

Would be nice to know which really….

5 thoughts on “Dodgy statistic hunt of the day”

  1. Isn’t describing obesity as a timebomb a slightly doubtful choice of metaphor? Who will find it concerning? The sour-faced will find it fattist, while the rest of us are more likely to feel dark amusement rather than worry: the image of hundreds of thousands of porky children just waiting to explode!

  2. The late Keith Waterhouse knew where all figures of this sort come from. He called it

    THE DEPARTMENT OF GUESSWORK

    He also immortalised the procedures of British local government in his reports on the proceedings of Clogthorpe District Council.

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