Gastro 'a Western world disease'.

This article provides several examples of statistical usage which could be discussed in a mathematics or health class. The report is based on a survey of 1200 people, but no details of how the sample was chosen are discussed. Students should think of questions they would ask the reporter about this and what aspects of the selection of people to be surveyed might affect the results obtained.

Several percentages are given throughout the article. Looking at the causes people suggested for their discomfort, students should be able to conclude that the respondents were asked to tick boxes for causes and were allowed to choose more than one [since the percentages sum to greater than 100%]. The question concerning "the cure" chosen, however, was more likely to have asked for a single response.

Students should discuss the claim that indigestion is a Western disease. What other evidence would they like to hear before they reach the same conclusion?

There are several basic cause-effect relationships which can be discussed in relation to this article. Accepting that "eating spicy foods" causes indigestion may be relatively easy. Accepting that living in the Western world causes it may be in bit more difficult. Students might discuss the eating habits in Eastern countries, especially with respect to spicy foods and speculate on the levels of indigestion. Many factors are likely to be involved in reaching a conclusion about region of the world inhabited and propensity to indigestion. This could be the basis for a humorous classroom debate.

Where to next?

Student Questions for this article
Newspaper article
Index - Related articles
Index - Inference
Numeracy in the News - Main Index