# Statistics, statisics and ...

N

#### Nancy Young

##### Guest
... you know the rest.

I keep seeing all of these quotes, mostly here, about how many times people eat fast food, how many
Americans are obese, etc.

Did I read this the other day? 1 out of 4 Americans eat fast food every day. I couldn't find the
exact quote.

Okay, you have A, B, C & D. Do they mean A eats fast food every day? the rest who knows how
often, or ...

Does A eat fast food Sunday, B Monday, etc. If so, big whoop. That means A, B and C eats fast food
twice a week. I don't think that is out of line.

What is fast food, anyway? Does my once a week pizza count? Or the occasional sub I order from the
local deli? Or is it just the usual chain burger places?

60% of Americans are obese. Really, is that a fact? I would really love to hear where they came up
with that one. Do doctors report that? because I don't recall the census asking my height or weight.
So, exactly how are they determining this number? If it's doctors, gee, maybe obese people go to the
doctor more often? I don't know how much I weigh, how do these statistics reporters know?

Because it comes up here so often, when I'm in large crowds (no pun intended), I sometimes take a
quick look around. Go tailgating at a football game, look around, plenty of skinny people. Mall?
Same deal. 60% obese? No. Perhaps it's a regional thing. Most of the people I see do not need to
lose weight.

While I'm at it, what is obese, anyway. I seem to recall that when I was a teenager, it was
explained that 10% over your ideal weight is considered obese. Someone somewhere decided that my
ideal weight at 5'2" is 108 to 115, something like that. By that rule, if I weigh much more than
125, I'm obese. But when the news shows go on about how many of us are obese, they drag out film
footage of people who really should think about eating less. In other words, using the word obese
and then showing the most extreme examples.

(laughing) Okay, I'm done now.

nancy (just really wondering how these numbers are formulated)

On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 17:18:38 -0500, Nancy Young
<[email protected]> wrote:

>Did I read this the other day? 1 out of 4 Americans eat fast food every day. I couldn't find the
>exact quote.

From:

<http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/entertainmentstorydisplay.cfm?storyID=3545438&thesection=e-
ntertainment&thesubsection=film&thesecondsubsection=general>

At the festival in Park City, Utah, he has had teams handing out "Unhappy Meal" bags on the streets
with a few "Fat Fun Facts". For instance, one in four Americans visits a fast-food restaurant every
day. And did you know that McDonald's feeds more people around the world every day than the
population of Spain? The makers have self-rated the film "F" - for "fat audiences".

What they don't say is 1 in 3 of those "1 of 4 Americans" visit a fast food restaurant just to use
the bathroom.

OK - So I just made that up.

>Okay, you have A, B, C & D. Do they mean A eats fast food every day? the rest who knows how
>often, or ...
>
>Does A eat fast food Sunday, B Monday, etc. If so, big whoop. That means A, B and C eats fast food
>twice a week. I don't think that is out of line.

It means out of 10,000 typical, random people, 2,500 of them will eat from a fast food restaurant on
any given day.

>What is fast food, anyway? Does my once a week pizza count? Or the occasional sub I order from the
>local deli? Or is it just the usual chain burger places?

There are plenty of definitions out there. It's bascially any food prepared and/or served quickly.
AKA "Quick Service" in the industry. It's not limited to any type of food. It can even be milkshake.

>60% of Americans are obese. Really, is that a fact? I would really love to hear where they
>came up with that one. Do doctors report that? because I don't recall the census asking my
>height or weight.

Like all studies, thay are taken from a random sampling of people. DOing surverys is a whole industy
in itself. How much do you weigh, anyway? For my files...

"Obese", I beleive, is considered 25 or more lbs over the standard weight for your height.

I would argue that if 60% of people are obese, how can the other 40% be a majority that deterines
the average weight in the first place? Maybe 40% of the people are underweight, insetad.

-sw

> Nancy Young askes how are obesity statistics compiled:
>
>(laughing) Okay, I'm done now.
>
>nancy (just really wondering how these numbers are formulated)

Most all major US employers track their emplyee's physical well being via means of periodical
medical exams, whereas the statics gathered are shared with disability insurance carriers, and most
folks realize that insurers are in fact actuaries... and if that's not enough there are many, many
other means for gathering health statistics. But by far the primary gatherer of obesity statistics
is the clothing industry... the tape measure doesn't lie.

---= BOYCOTT FRENCH--GERMAN (belgium) =--- ---= Move UNITED NATIONS To Paris =--- Sheldon
```````````` "Life would be devoid of all meaning were it without tribulation."

"Nancy Young" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> ... you know the rest.
>
> I keep seeing all of these quotes, mostly here, about how many times people eat fast food, how
> many Americans are obese, etc.
>
> Did I read this the other day? 1 out of 4 Americans eat fast food every day. I couldn't find the
> exact quote.
>
> Okay, you have A, B, C & D. Do they mean A eats fast food every day? the rest who knows how
> often, or ...
>
> Does A eat fast food Sunday, B Monday, etc. If so, big whoop. That means A, B and C eats fast food
> twice a week. I don't think that is out of line.
>
> What is fast food, anyway? Does my once a week pizza count? Or the occasional sub I order from the
> local deli? Or is it just the usual chain burger places?
>
> 60% of Americans are obese. Really, is that a fact? I would really love to hear where they came
> up with that one. Do doctors report that? because I don't recall the census asking my height or
> weight. So, exactly how are they determining this number? If it's doctors, gee, maybe obese
> people go to the doctor more often? I don't know how much I weigh, how do these statistics
> reporters know?
>
> Because it comes up here so often, when I'm in large crowds (no pun intended), I sometimes take a
> quick look around. Go tailgating at a football game, look around, plenty of skinny people. Mall?
> Same deal. 60% obese? No. Perhaps it's a regional thing. Most of the people I see do not need to
> lose weight.
>
> While I'm at it, what is obese, anyway. I seem to recall that when I was a teenager, it was
> explained that 10% over your ideal weight is considered obese. Someone somewhere decided that my
> ideal weight at 5'2" is 108 to 115, something like that. By that rule, if I weigh much more than
> 125, I'm obese. But when the news shows go on about how many of us are obese, they drag out film
> footage of people who really should think about eating less. In other words, using the word obese
> and then showing the most extreme examples.
>
> (laughing) Okay, I'm done now.
>
> nancy (just really wondering how these numbers are formulated)

I don't have the answers for you, Nancy....but did you see the comics, I think it was 2 Sundays ago,
when they had the family around the table, the Stats? They were each spouting off statistics and the
last one says "64.3% of statistics are incorrect" or something to that effect. It was funny.

kimberly

x-no-archive: yes

Nancy Young wrote:

>
>
>... you know the rest.
>
>I keep seeing all of these quotes, mostly here, about how many times people eat fast food, how many
>Americans are obese, etc.
>
>Did I read this the other day? 1 out of 4 Americans eat fast food every day. I couldn't find the
>exact quote.
>
>Okay, you have A, B, C & D. Do they mean A eats fast food every day? the rest who knows how
>often, or ...
>
>Does A eat fast food Sunday, B Monday, etc. If so, big whoop. That means A, B and C eats fast food
>twice a week. I don't think that is out of line.
>
>What is fast food, anyway? Does my once a week pizza count? Or the occasional sub I order from the
>local deli? Or is it just the usual chain burger places?

If you count stopping on the way to work for coffee and some type of donut, muffins or whatever as
getting fast food, that would rack up a lot of the numbers right there. And I'd assume subs-- which
can be perfectly healthy-- would count too.

Naomi D.

"Nancy Young" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> ... you know the rest.
>
> I keep seeing all of these quotes, mostly here, about how many times people eat fast food, how
> many Americans are obese, etc.
>
> Did I read this the other day? 1 out of 4 Americans eat fast food every day. I couldn't find the
> exact quote.
>
> Okay, you have A, B, C & D. Do they mean A eats fast food every day? the rest who knows how
> often, or ...
>
> Does A eat fast food Sunday, B Monday, etc. If so, big whoop. That means A, B and C eats fast food
> twice a week. I don't think that is out of line.
>
> What is fast food, anyway? Does my once a week pizza count? Or the occasional sub I order from the
> local deli? Or is it just the usual chain burger places?

Fast Food, from M-W:

1 : of, relating to, or specializing in food that can be prepared and served quickly <a fast-food
restaurant>
2 : designed for ready availability, use, or consumption and with little consideration given to
quality or significance <fast-food TV programming>

'Fast food' is a newer name for old ideas. A hot dog from a cart is fast food. Pizza is fast food
and so is Chinese takeout. We didn't have a fancy monicker for them then.

>
> 60% of Americans are obese. Really, is that a fact? I would really love to hear where they came
> up with that one. Do doctors report that? because I don't recall the census asking my height or
> weight. So, exactly how are they determining this number? If it's doctors, gee, maybe obese
> people go to the doctor more often? I don't know how much I weigh, how do these statistics
> reporters know?

Your driver's license has your height and weight on it. It's pretty much public knowledge what your
'stats' are. Eye color too. Your insurance company knows too. It's not like they're medical records
or anything.

>
> Because it comes up here so often, when I'm in large crowds (no pun intended), I sometimes take a
> quick look around. Go tailgating at a football game, look around, plenty of skinny people. Mall?
> Same deal. 60% obese? No. Perhaps it's a regional thing. Most of the people I see do not need to
> lose weight.
>
> While I'm at it, what is obese, anyway. I seem to recall that when I was a teenager, it was
> explained that 10% over your ideal weight is considered obese. Someone somewhere decided that my
> ideal weight at 5'2" is 108 to 115, something like that. By that rule, if I weigh much more than
> 125, I'm obese. But when the news shows go on about how many of us are obese, they drag out film
> footage of people who really should think about eating less. In other words, using the word obese
> and then showing the most extreme examples.

There's obese and then there's morbidly obese. Of course, when the news wants to drive the point
home, they'll trot out the 'poster child' of obesity, rather than the schlub who's merely 10 lbs
overweight.

>
> (laughing) Okay, I'm done now.

No no, keep going; this was a good one.
>
> nancy (just really wondering how these numbers are formulated)

It's that guy. You know, when someone sez 'that guy said this' or 'that guy said that'. Correlated
to THEY, as in 'they say this' or 'they say that'. Know what? THAT GUY is the president of THEY.
<insert black helicopters
here>

Jack Amalgamatedivision

On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 17:18:38 -0500, Nancy Young
<[email protected]> wrote:

>... you know the rest.

The usual quote is "There are lies, damn[ed] lies, and statistics," variously attributed to Mark
Twain who attributed it to Disraeli, and Churchill, who may have also used the phrase.
>
>I keep seeing all of these quotes, mostly here, about how many times people eat fast food, how many
>Americans are obese, etc.

Looking up the quote, I came across reference to a book titled "Damned Lies and Statistics" by Joel
Best which looks pretty interesting.

http://tinyurl.com/3cyjy

The questions you ask are worth asking. Where *do* these numbers come from? How are they meaningful?
Obviously the 'researchers' don't ask every single person (American?) how many times he/she ate in a
fast food joint. What was their sample population? Urban? Rural? Age? Avaliability of alternatives?
Many statistics are just re-pubished from dubious source. A lot of footnotes and references does not
a truth make.

Steve Wertz wrote:
>
> On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 17:18:38 -0500, Nancy Young

> >Did I read this the other day? 1 out of 4 Americans eat fast food every day. I couldn't find the
> >exact quote.
>
> From:

> At the festival in Park City, Utah, he has had teams handing out "Unhappy Meal" bags on the
> streets with a few "Fat Fun Facts". For instance, one in four Americans visits a fast-food
> restaurant every day. And did you know that McDonald's feeds more people around the world every
> day than the population of Spain? The makers have self-rated the film "F" - for "fat audiences".

Ah, silly me, I searched on fast food, not fast-food.

> What they don't say is 1 in 3 of those "1 of 4 Americans" visit a fast food restaurant just to use
> the bathroom.
>
> OK - So I just made that up.

(laugh) Only when I'm on the road, and even then I can hold it, I was a camel in a former life.

> >Okay, you have A, B, C & D. Do they mean A eats fast food every day? the rest who knows how
> >often, or ...
> >
> >Does A eat fast food Sunday, B Monday, etc. If so, big whoop. That means A, B and C eats fast
> >food twice a week. I don't think that is out of line.
>
> It means out of 10,000 typical, random people, 2,500 of them will eat from a fast food restaurant
> on any given day.

I don't see a problem with that. Also, where are they finding these random people? In the middle of
farm country? Or Manhattan? I ate calzone or a hot dog pretty much every day for lunch. Does that
count? What exactly is random about the study. (I'm not asking you, I'm making my point)

> >What is fast food, anyway? Does my once a week pizza count? Or the occasional sub I order from
> >the local deli? Or is it just the usual chain burger places?
>
> There are plenty of definitions out there. It's bascially any food prepared and/or served quickly.
> AKA "Quick Service" in the industry. It's not limited to any type of food. It can even be
> milkshake.

I ordered Chinese food tonight, they said I could pick it up in 10 minutes. So, Chinese food is fast
food, my string beans in garlic sauce and my egg roll. Probably more fat than a big mac, but I'll
get three meals out of it.

At any rate, if 'they' don't define fast food, this running around saying '1 out of 4 people eats
fast food every day' is meaningless. I still think it's worded very badly for so called scientists.

> >60% of Americans are obese. Really, is that a fact? I would really love to hear where they came
> >up with that one. Do doctors report that? because I don't recall the census asking my height or
> >weight.
>
> Like all studies, thay are taken from a random sampling of people. DOing surverys is a whole
> industy in itself. How much do you weigh, anyway? For my files...

I would tell you, but I don't know. I'm not fat, but that is so not bragging in any way.

> "Obese", I beleive, is considered 25 or more lbs over the standard weight for your height.

I'm not sure that would be fair, it must be a percentage. 25 pounds on someone 7' tall is nothing,
on someone short like me, it's more fat.

> I would argue that if 60% of people are obese, how can the other 40% be a majority that deterines
> the average weight in the first place? Maybe 40% of the people are underweight, insetad.

Yeah, blame it on the skinny people, there you go, I can get behind that premise.

nancy

Dan Abel wrote:
>
> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] wrote:
>
> > ... you know the rest.
>
> > nancy (just really wondering how these numbers are formulated)
>
> 73.8% of all statisics are just made up.
>
>

(laughing!!!) That's funny.

nancy

PENMART01 wrote:
>
> > Nancy Young askes how are obesity statistics compiled:
> >
> >(laughing) Okay, I'm done now.
> >
> >nancy (just really wondering how these numbers are formulated)
>
> Most all major US employers track their emplyee's physical well being via means of periodical
> medical exams,

Aside from being hired, I have never been forced to take a physical. I worked for some major
corporations. No one has weighed me in a couple of decades.

nancy

On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 16:03:40 -0800, [email protected] (Dan Abel)
wrote:

>In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] wrote:
>
>> ... you know the rest.
>
>
>> nancy (just really wondering how these numbers are formulated)
>
>
>73.8% of all statisics are just made up.

There was actually a study that said that 68% of all studies were seriosuly flawed.

-sw

On 29 Jan 2004 01:04:04 GMT, [email protected] (PENMART01) wrote:
>But by far the primary gatherer of obesity statistics is the clothing industry... the tape measure
>doesn't lie.

This is why I buy/wear a lot of shorts - to throw off the industy into thinking I'm much taller.

Bwhahahahah!

-sw

il Wed, 28 Jan 2004 16:03:40 -0800, [email protected] (Dan Abel) ha
scritto:

> 73.8% of all statisics are just made up.

"There are lies, damned lies, and statistics"
--
Cheers, Loki [ Brevity is the soul of wit. W.Shakespeare ]

Steve Wertz <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 17:18:38 -0500, Nancy Young <[email protected]> wrote:

> >60% of Americans are obese. Really, is that a fact? I would really love to hear where they came
> >up with that one. Do doctors report that? because I don't recall the census asking my height or
> >weight.
>
> Like all studies, thay are taken from a random sampling of people. DOing surverys is a whole
> industy in itself. How much do you weigh, anyway? For my files...
>
> "Obese", I beleive, is considered 25 or more lbs over the standard weight for your height.
>
> I would argue that if 60% of people are obese, how can the other 40% be a majority that deterines
> the average weight in the first place? Maybe 40% of the people are underweight, insetad.

Obese is currently defined as having a BMI (body mass index) of over
30. Normal BMI is between 20-24.9, and overweight is between 25-29.9.

Julie.

Steve Wertz a écrit :

> "Obese", I beleive, is considered 25 or more lbs over the standard weight for your height.

There is now an official definition of obesity: an obese person has a BMI over 30. BMI under 19
means too thin, normal BMI between 19 and 25, "overweight" between 25 and 30.

Nathalie in Switzerland

In article <[email protected]>, "Jack Schidt®" <[email protected]>
wrote: (snip)
> Fast Food, from M-W:
>
> 1 : of, relating to, or specializing in food that can be prepared and served quickly <a fast-food
> restaurant> 2 : designed for ready availability, use, or consumption and with little
> consideration given to quality or significance <fast-food TV programming>
>
> 'Fast food' is a newer name for old ideas. A hot dog from a cart is fast food. Pizza is fast food
> and so is Chinese takeout. We didn't have a fancy monicker for them then.

Interesting. I think of fast food as already prepared just waiting for me to step to the counter and
make my selection so they can hand it to me. McDonald's and their ilk. KFC and the like. Not pizza
and not Chinese takeout.
--
-Barb, <www.jamlady.eboard.com> updated 1/26/04 A good friend will come and bail you out of jail; a
true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Damn,that was fun!"

Frogleg wrote:
>
> On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 17:18:38 -0500, Nancy Young <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> >... you know the rest.
>
> The usual quote is "There are lies, damn[ed] lies, and statistics," variously attributed to Mark
> Twain who attributed it to Disraeli, and Churchill, who may have also used the phrase.

Yeah, I knew the instant I sent it, wrong quote and misspelled at that. I figured people would know
what I meant.

> >
> >I keep seeing all of these quotes, mostly here, about how many times people eat fast food, how
> >many Americans are obese, etc.
>
> Looking up the quote, I came across reference to a book titled "Damned Lies and Statistics" by
> Joel Best which looks pretty interesting.
>
> http://tinyurl.com/3cyjy
>
> The questions you ask are worth asking. Where *do* these numbers come from? How are they
> meaningful? Obviously the 'researchers' don't ask every single person (American?) how many times
> he/she ate in a fast food joint. What was their sample population? Urban? Rural? Age? Avaliability
> of alternatives? Many statistics are just re-pubished from dubious source. A lot of footnotes and
> references does not a truth make.

I should buy that book, he's saying exactly what I was getting at.

nancy

Frogleg <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 17:18:38 -0500, Nancy Young <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> >... you know the rest.
>
> The usual quote is "There are lies, damn[ed] lies, and statistics," variously attributed to Mark
> Twain who attributed it to Disraeli, and Churchill, who may have also used the phrase.
> >
> >I keep seeing all of these quotes, mostly here, about how many times people eat fast food, how
> >many Americans are obese, etc.
>
> Looking up the quote, I came across reference to a book titled "Damned Lies and Statistics" by
> Joel Best which looks pretty interesting.
>
> http://tinyurl.com/3cyjy
>

Another well known book is "How to Lie With Statistics" by Darell Huff and Irving Geis. This book is
often mentioned and occasionally required reading in introductory statistics courses.

<http://www.sciencesbookreview.com/How_to_Lie_With_Statistics_0393310728.html>

-bwg

On Wed, 28 Jan 2004 19:08:17 -0500, Nancy Young
<[email protected]> wrote:

>> It means out of 10,000 typical, random people, 2,500 of them will eat from a fast food restaurant
>> on any given day.
>
>I don't see a problem with that. Also, where are they finding these random people? In the middle of
>farm country? Or Manhattan? I ate calzone or a hot dog pretty much every day for lunch. Does that
>count? What exactly is random about the study. (I'm not asking you, I'm making my point)

The restaurants report certain statistics to the National (and local) Restaurant Association. Like
number of people served in a year, etc... By comparing them with the regional populations, it's
determined quite easily.

Note that of those 10,000 in the theoretical sample, 2,000 of them probably eat fast food once every
6 months, while 2,000 eat it every day. The other 6,000 eat it somewhere bwtween daily and
quarterly.

Making the statement "1 in 4 Americans eat FF every" is just a way to simplify the statistic to make
it easier to visualize (Except in this case when busy-bodies like *you* start disecting them and