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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/12577/talk-about-a-pig-in-a-python/

Talk about a pig in a python

April 27, 2010 by

The Teachers College of Columbia University publishes TCRecord, the online version of the Teachers College Record. For those who do not know, the Teachers College is one of the nerve centers of Progressive education. All the evil -isms of the day have a home there.

TCRecord sent out a recent email that included an article lamenting the supposed youth obesity crisis.

Of course, no crisis can exist without associated hyperbole. This, for example:

Today fully one-third of children and adolescents are obese (having a weight to height ratio at or above the 95th percentile for age and gender) or overweight (85th percentile).

When one-third of a group is at or above the group’s 85th percentile, you have a real pig in a python. And catchy hyperbole as well.

{ 8 comments }

HL April 27, 2010 at 11:24 pm

I fell off my chair.

Havvy April 28, 2010 at 12:05 am

Not as good as hearing four students proudly exclaim that the sun is only 150km away (less than 100 miles) on a powerpoint (these students being through 12 years of education), but still a hilarious obvious error.

Artisan April 28, 2010 at 2:45 am

:-)

Gene Berman April 28, 2010 at 6:23 am

When Garrison Keillor’s “Lake Wobegon” series maintains that “all the children are above average,” it seems a goodly portion of their (mostly “liberal”) audience just doesn’t realize they’re kidding.

carn April 28, 2010 at 7:11 am

While it is funny, in defense one could say, that comparison over time or area are possible.
Such a sentence:
“Today fully one-third of children and adolescents are obese (having a weight to height ratio at or above the 95th percentile for age and gender in respect to US population 1960-1980) or overweight (85th percentile …). ”
would make sense and such a trend could mean a weight problem.

And this is actually the case:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classification_of_obesity
“The healthy BMI range varies with the age and sex of the child. Obesity in children and adolescents is defined as a BMI greater than the 95th percentile.[30] The reference data that these percentiles are based on is from 1963 to 1994 and thus has not been affected by the recent increases in rates of obesity.[31]”

So the sentence does make sense, children weigh more than 20-50 years ago.
Though of course the question remains, whether the 1963-94 average were actually healthy ones.

Ohhh Henry April 28, 2010 at 8:24 pm

When they’re not busy writing mathematically impossible hyperbole, d’you think that maybe someone at Columbia could have a look around and see if they can find the Prezinitz’ official transcript ? I heard he possibly graduated with the top 1/3 of his class in the 99th percentile. Or was it the bottom 1/3 in the 9th percentile. Something like that.

Dr Lucas Fat Burning Tips Blog author July 27, 2010 at 8:58 pm

The truth is more kids do eat junk food while sitting on their collective butts on the computer or playing video games. We recently had a 11 y.o. that was 100lbs overweight and had the first juvenile case of documented type 2 DM. So there is a problem, don’t know if it’s as bad as they are saying?

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