Fun With Fat Stats

The BBC today ends a story about changes in Chinese efforts to decrease obesity with this useless statement:

One-fifth of the world’s overweight and obese people live in China and the numbers are rising dramatically.

Why useless? That doesn’t tell us anything about whether China has higher obesity prevalence than anywhere else. And indeed, it seems they do not, given that China’s population is almost exactly one-fifth of the world’s:

World Population (July 2007 CIA estimate): 6,602,224,175
Population of the PRC (July 2007 CIA estimate): 1,321,851,888
1321851888 / 6202224175 = 0.200213118 = really close to 1/5

This is to say nothing of the “look how different they are” tone of the article as a whole.

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