Why risk should be reported responsibly

Is it ever morally acceptable to ‘spin’ information about risk to try to influence people’s behaviour?

Imagine a new report has been published, linking eating meat to the development of cancer.

Is it right for a newspaper to report the relative risk without the absolute risk, to create a more striking story and therefore sell more papers? Would you feel differently if this were done by a government health campaign or a cancer charity trying to raise funds for research? What if it were used in adverts by a business that produces vegetarian food?

Further reading

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Number Crunching’ in June 2013.

Topics:
Statistics and maths, Health, infection and disease
Issue:
Number Crunching
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development