Why we need statistics

by Amina Tumi, Hair & beauty Salon Owner, London and Bryony, London.


“Cancer deaths among women to rise 60% by 2030”, new report warns1.

Have we ever taken a moment to stop and really consider what statistics are actually there for and what their purpose is?

For example:

  • The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer alone could almost double to 3.2 million a year by 2030 from 1.7 million in 20152.
  • An estimated 17.5 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2012, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke3.
  • Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression4.

Statistics are a way to find out what is taking place in our world on a mass scale and can be used to help us really understand diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, endometriosis, depression, stress, anxiety etc… so why ignore something that has great purpose and potential?

If we are largely ignoring them (and we are), we have to ask ourselves:

Do we really want to get to the bottom of our woes and, are we prepared to see more than we currently do when it comes to our own contribution to the state of the world?

Why have we arrived at a point where we are able to read statistics of such magnitude and yet turn a blind eye with not an ounce of responsibility? We read statistics but we are not deeply connecting to what they are presenting. We may engage with them but it continues to only be on a surface level; the reality is we don’t want to know that we are a part of them, we don’t want to feel the state of the world, the rot that we are all contributing to, the very fact that we DO KNOW this is taking place but we are not prepared to do anything about it. We like to moan about life, the way it currently is, the parts that are not what we deem successful but in this, are we prepared to step forward and make the necessary steps that are required to bring about change?

So where are we going, what will life look like in 20 years from now? It is obvious by the headlines above that we are heading into more turmoil, more illness, disease and more conflict.

Are we willing to stop this tunnel vision way of living, thinking that we are not responsible for what is occurring in life or do we wait until we become a statistic of illness and disease – and even then, do we see this an opportunity to change the way we are living, knowing this has contributed to the illness in the first place?

Given the increasing evidence that lifestyle is a major determinant of health and that only 5% percent of all cancers are genetic, statistics invite us to deeply look at the way we are living on a daily basis in all areas of our lives and to see whether we are making choices that are truly healthy or not.



1) https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/02/cancer-deaths-women-rise-warning-lancet

2) https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/02/cancer-deaths-women-rise-warning-lancet – See also Lancet Medical Journal http://www.thelancet.com/series/womens-cancers

3) http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/

4) http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/


Read more:

  1. Global statistics on women
  2. World statistics day -October 20th 2015


510 thoughts on “Why we need statistics

  1. This is a great blog because it is asking us all to wake up and take responsibility for what is really going on in our lives; that humanity is very sick but we are burying our heads in the sand pretending it is not happening.
    Yet we cannot ignore this because we know so many people who are sick, so will we only care when it happens to us as individuals, that as long as we continue to dodge the bullet we can carry on as normal.

  2. Amina, you have raised an interesting yet pertinent point about global illness and diseases.
    If we really looked at history and compared the statistics to the modern day life, and see what was available around those eras, we would note that technology was not advanced, social media was unavailable, people spent more time being outdoors instead of indoors. Fast food was not in demand like today and most would have simple home cooked foods. There was not the mass frenzy shopping and special days were really celebrated. Well now its glorified, how can we beat the neighbours, glamorous weddings that often end in divorces, what a waste and this is where the world is at, mass production and mass waste. And in this, the ramifications upon the human being.

    To read we ignore these statistics is a deep concern. Do we leave it to the scientists and research to find the miracle cure or answers when each and every one of us has a part to play in this. Without everyone playing this part, then the world will continue to be in devastation and the statistics will continue to rise, this is the modern day plague.

    When will we wake up, when we realise it is about the all…

  3. I have noticed that when we hear about something happening we can brush it aside with a cursory moment of concern, then we hear someone we know, knew or perhaps the person we are speaking to knew, and all of a sudden that ‘story’ or that statistic takes a whole new set of responses from our body. Why is that? Are we not caring or engaging in the first place, or are we only really caring when it feels closer to home and we connect personally with the impact of the story or statistic?

    1. Lucy, most people are only interested once it’s close to home and there are some who do it for recognition/identification and the drive or personal gain sets in. To truly care is to engage with no expectations or outcomes.

  4. “Given the increasing evidence that lifestyle is a major determinant of health and that only 5% percent of all cancers are genetic…” Exactly, we can look the other way, or we can front foot this statistic and confound it by addressing how we live our lives and offer our bodies the deep care and attention they deserve.

  5. ‘Why have we arrived at a point where we are able to read statistics of such magnitude and yet turn a blind eye with not an ounce of responsibility?’ While we continue to do this the statistics simply get more extreme. A couple of days ago I found out that 60% of all newly qualified teachers are leaving the profession within 2 years. We got to crisis point quite a long time ago and yet we have continued on the same path to our detriment.

    1. Actually I’m surprised we still have statistics because collectively we do not take much notice of deterioration of our health and I wouldn’t be surprised if the institutions stopped releasing them with the excuse that it’s too upsetting for society to read. If we were to add all the illness and diseases together, we are so sick and yet we are not taking the necessary steps to deal with it.

  6. I wonder how this whole thing is related to the survival of the fittest mentality – like, do we feel superior when we are not being the statistics ourselves? Being somehow luckier, better, even somewhat special? Our reaction, or the lack of it, reveals how we are so individuated and could not care less about our fellow brothers. This arrogance to think that somehow we are invincible and will be the last man standing is utterly groundless.

  7. We ignore statistics because we think we’re not going to be one, like it’s not going to happen to us however it also reveals our selfish ways, couldn’t care less attitude and lack of love towards others essentially from the lack of love towards ourselves.

  8. Statistics have an important role in providing the severity of the situations in a way that wakes us up and we can not ignore, just like the shocking ‘drink & drive’ warning clips that the police often use around Christmas in the hope of cutting down the horrendous alcohol related accidents.
    However it always comes down to us: how bad does the picture need to get before we stop and choose to pay attention?

  9. What is insanity is that most of us will wait until we become a statistic to even stop and consider that there is potentially another way we can be that is nurturing, self-loving and honouring what our bodies are communicating us.

  10. ‘Why have we arrived at a point where we are able to read statistics of such magnitude and yet turn a blind eye with not an ounce of responsibility?’ This is such a great question to ask, however, I think people are scared to read them because they don’t know how to handle the increases of illness and disease on such a massive scale or the devastation of what each of these statistics mean in reality. Whilst this is no excuse many of us can flail around and bury our heads in the sand when we are overwhelmed in feeling like we don’t have the answers

  11. Yes they can be manipulated – and frequently are – but currently we need statistics to be laid out in front of us because we are not listening to our bodies and seeing the devastation we continue to live in as our own responsibility.

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