Re: poly: Why we die?

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Mon Jun 29 1998 - 14:34:18 PDT

Rich S. writes:
>robin>What contradictions do you have in mind? (I don't see them.)
>Sex Male Female
> 1.0 .41
>We know that women live longer than men, but the death ratio of 2.5
>is hard to believe: What averaging method was used to get this number?

All the numbers I described are *model* numbers. Given a bunch of data
and parameterized model of a certain form, statitical analysis suggests
the actual parameter values which make the data the most likely.
Convolving the 2.5 factor with the dramatic increase in mortality with
age, this doesn't seem to me at odds with what we know about women
living longer.

>Income 30K$+ 10-29K$ <10K$
> 1.0 2.14 2.77
>Is this a raw statistic? Where do social security recipients fall in
>the distribution? How is drawdown of an IRA counted -- is it income?
>What about resources supplied by children?

"income, based on self-reported information ... the combined income from
all sources of the respondent and his or her spouse in the preceding year"
"More refiend categories ... of income produced similar results, as did
adding controls for houshold size and assets."

>We know that serious illness can be financially ruinous -- does the
>above table merely reflect this fact?

There are far too few people in that situation to much effect the results.
And as I said, careful looking for such selection effects haven't found
strong effects.

>Smoking Never current former
> 1.0 1.26 1.28
>In the conventional wisdom, quitting smoking improves your health.
>The above table sez it doesn't matter.

The 95% confidence intervals are .93 -1.69, so the .02 difference is
far from significant.

>Body Mass Normal Underweight Overweight
> 1.0 2.03 .94
>Much as I would like to, I don't believe that being overweight lowers
>risk of death.

Again the 95%c.l. interval is .72-1.23

>Maybe it's unfair of me to attack a summary table, but a simple
>reading would seem to say that I could calculate my relative risk
>by multiplying 3.46 * 1.0 * 1.0 * 1.52 * 1.0 * 1.0 * 1.0 * 1.13 *
> .94 * 2.91.

Yes, that is a fair way to use the table.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627
Received on Mon Jun 29 21:54:23 1998

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