Saturday, 6 August 2011

Statistics

A few days ago a report was issued, with coverage in all the media, that children born today have an exceptional chance of living to 100 plus.  Something like 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 4 boys.
     
     On the other hand, a report issued the day before stressed growing concern about the number of young people becoming ill with life threatening diseases because of alcohol abuse.  People of both sexes suffering organ failure in their thirties because of excessive alcohol consumption.
     
     And, of course, we all know we are becoming a nation of obese, non-exercising couch potatoes addicted to surfing the net instead of the sea and texting people in the next room rather than getting up and going to speak to them physically.

     So how are these report findings compiled?  Do the people who are looking into how long people are living not consult with those researching health?  It would be laughable if it wasn't for the fact that these reports are presumably used to forecast the needs of nation in the future.

     Will there be a crisis in pension provision if everyone lives to be 100?  Will the government need to provide more care homes or retirement communities?  Will there be a growth in the care industry?

     Probably not, because most of the population will have died from drinking and eating too much.  There won't be as many deaths from smoking because cigarettes will be a thing of the past, but heart disease, liver failure and diabetes will be rampant. 

     Before you decide life expectancy will increase in the future it has to be decided why people are living longer now.  The people who are achieving such great age now lived through the deprivation caused by WW2 and the aftermath.  This was a time when food was rationed, cakes were a treat and no one needed to be told they had to eat veg - there was little else to eat.

     In the meantime maybe the researchers should be talking to each other - although the figures might mean 1 in 3 will live to 100, 1 in 3 will die from alcohol abuse and 1 in 3 will die from over-eating.

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