Clearly state the popular source and statistic of interest as reported by that popular source.
The statistic of concern as reported in CNN News, 20 October of 2011, “Moving out of high-poverty areas may lower obesity, diabetes risk” is that women who moved out of high poverty level areas showed a lower of propensity to be diabetic or obese by one-fifth as compared to those who stayed put.
Clearly state the academic journal from which the media-reported statistic originated and the author or authors who conducted the study.
Jens Ludwig and others published “Neighborhoods, Obesity, and Diabetes-A Randomized Social Experiment” in the October 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine to describe this phenomenon.
Explain in detail how the statistic reported in the popular media was “measured.” For example, how did author(s) determine that someone was an atheist? How did the author(s) determine “involvement with religious institutions? (e.g., Does it mean going to a religious service at least one a year or does it mean something else?). Did the author(s) clearly describe how data for the reported statistic was gathered? As one example: Did the author(s) interview people? If so how many, how did they recruit people to participate? What questions did the author(s) ask? What do you think of the questions?
The study dependant on data collected from families who originally resided in high poverty areas and were now residing in low poverty areas. The Department of Housing and Urban Development came up with Moving to Opportunity (MOT) program that used a lottery scheme and awarded families a voucher for rent subsidy, which enabled the families to move to better neighborhoods (Ludwig). The study was keen on establishing the effects that arose from families changing locations to better neighborhoods. The analysis in this study focused on a single woman from each household who in most cases was the head of the house and who was interviewed in the years between 2008 and 2010.
The families selected for participation had to meet one of three criteria. Families selected to obtain low poverty vouchers were given a standard rent subsidy but had to use inside a census tract with a low rate of poverty that is less than 10% in 1990. This provided with counseling as to where they could find housing. The other group were given vouchers and paid the same rent as they had in public housing. This group was used as a control to establish the difference between effects of moving with a voucher and the effects of moving to a low-poverty area. The third group was not given vouchers or any form of assistance (MacMillan). The applicants for the MTO were given a survey to complete baseline questions about their living conditions including health issues.
After the randomization and completion of survey by the participants, the team of researchers followed the progress of families in order to monitor long-term outcomes some of which included health outcomes (Ludwig). The University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center collected the data in the period June 2008 to April 2010 about 12 years after the randomization and the baseline survey (Ludwig). The candidate participant was paid 50 dollars to complete follow up survey and 25 dollars to measure participants’ weight, height and to take a blood sample for obesity and diabetes check. The results of the follow up were traced back to the baseline survey to determine the effects of the low-poverty voucher scheme on health and other issues.
What do you think of the way behaviors or attitudes were measured? (e.g., Can you think of a better way to determine whether someone is an atheist? Can you think of a better way to determine “involvement with a religious institution”?)
Since the research was based on a large sample group, the researchers were unable to conduct a full evaluation of everyone who participated in the low-poverty voucher scheme. The journal article also fails to give another side where the low-poverty voucher did little to improve the health of other families. The generalized information fails to give and insight into the individual effects of the MOT program to families and their members. The study also failed to account for prevalence of obesity and diabetes of those who have always lived in low poverty areas. The study should have tried to account for individual differences.
Was there any other crucial information that the popular media account left out or distorted about the reported statistic? If yes, explain what is missing. If not, explain your answer
The CNN News report correctly interpreted the information provided by the journal article as can be recognized in the title of the report. Obesity and diabetes are major health issues in America to which no permanent solutions have been found (Robbins 27). The report recognizes the flaws in the journal article and does not guarantee the effectiveness of moving to low poverty areas as a solution for obesity and diabetes. This is what the article identified in the discussion section. However, it lauds the journal article of being cognizant of the social benefits that could amount form employing such measures across the country.
Jens Ludwig, Ph.D., Lisa Sanbonmatsu, Ph.D., Lisa Gennetian, Ph.D., Emma Adam, Ph.D., Greg J. Duncan, Ph.D., Lawrence F. Katz, Ph.D., Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D., Jeffrey R. Kling, Ph.D., Stacy Tessler Lindau, M.D., Robert C. Whitaker, M.D., M.P.H., and Thomas W. McDade, Ph.D. “Neighborhoods, Obesity, and Diabetes – a Randomized Social Experiments.” New England Journal of Medicine. 365.16 (2011): 1509-1519. Print. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa1103216
MacMillan, A. “Moving out of high-poverty areas may lower obesity, diabetes risk”. Cable News Network, October 20, 2011. web. 15 Oct. 2012. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/20/health/high-poverty-areas-increase-obesity/index.html?iref=allsearch
Robbins, Lynette. How to Deal with Obesity. New York, NY: PowerKids Press, 2010. Print.