January 31st, 2015

Dodgy Statistics

The Economist, who should know better, present as a problem here the statistics that 75% of deaths from non-communicable diseases, and 80% of premature deaths, occur in developing countries. But the population of the OECD countries plus Russia is only about 1.4 billion, so 80% of the world's population live in developing countries (unless they're using a radical new definition of "developing country" that excludes countries like Brazil, India and/or China), and thus the developing countries must be doing rather better than the developed countries as far as non-communicable diseases are concerned.

It's nearly as bad as the time the WHO set an objective to reduce the proportion of deaths due to non-communicable diseases. Which can of course also be expressed as setting an objective to increase the proportion of deaths caused by communicable diseases, violence, accidents or suicide. Since that's pretty much all the ways to die that there are, the two statements are equivalent to each other.