Boozing's shock toll revealed



  1. The data in the article are represented in 'person-years of life lost annually'. How do you think they were worked out? What do you need to know to calculate how many people died each year?
  2. Do you think the data can be misrepresented if you change the average life span and the age range at the time of death used in the calculations?
  3. Calculate the number of people that died if the average life span was 70 years and the average age of the people when they died was 20 years.
  4. Calculate the number of people that died if the average life span was 45 years and the average age of the people when they died was 20 years.
  5. Compare the answers from Q3 & Q4. Do you think the information could be easily biased to look worse than it already is?
  6. Make changes to the assumptions in Q3 & Q4 to make the information look better than in the article. Calculate the number of person-years from your new data. Again, compare this information to the article and consider the bias you created and how this may impact on a reader's impression of the information.
  7. The study says that 62,900 person-years of life are lost annually. From the percentages, calculate the number of person-years of life lost annually for each of the sections.
  8. What is the problem you would encounter if you tried to construct a pie-chart from this information?

(Written by Noleine Fitzallen, BTeach student, University of Tasmania, 2001)


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