So it’s not a gorgeous graphic. But its sort of like a Magic Eye, if you stare at it long enough, you can see a pattern emerge. Here’s some advice on how to view it.
First, notice the list of questions on the left. Each is based on information obtained from the 2008 Arizona Health Survey. Those questions are divided into two categories: areas of concern, and positive health behaviors. Next to each question is the type of data it is – either an average number or the average percent – and then the percentage or number for all adults in Arizona.
Now here is where you can start to see some trends. Next to each question and average response for all of Arizona, are numbers in red and green that represent the difference between the average for all Arizonans and the average for just that portion of the population. For numbers in the top category, areas of concern in health behaviors, a number higher than the average provokes concern, so it is displayed in red. For numbers in the bottom category, positive health behaviors, a number lower than average provokes concern, so it is displayed in red.
Let’s take an example. Look at the first question, the average number of cigarettes consumed by an everyday smoker. We can see that the average number of cigarettes consumed in one day is 13.7 for all everyday smokers in Arizona. Then, we can see that (on average) everyday smokers without health insurance smoke 1.7 less cigarettes per day, smokers with employer provided insurance smoke 0.2 more cigarettes per day, and smokers on Medicare and and AHCCCS smoke more per day, at 2.5 and 1.5 more, respectively.
Now that the graph has been explained – do you notice any trends?
Right away, I noticed that people who lack health insurance have an awful lot of red in their column, especially compared to people with employer provided health coverage. How each one of these averages affects an individual’s current and future health outcomes is the subject of further study. However, this chart does give us some idea of the average health behaviors of these populations.
What numbers or trends do you notice? What surprises you? Or does it confirm what you already have experienced in your work or personal life?