Sociologist: A recent study of 5,000 individuals found, on the basis of a physical exam, that more than 25 percent of...

Alexandra on January 21 at 12:57AM

I chose e

Can someone walk me through this plz.

1 Reply

Ravi on January 21 at 08:25PM

@alymathieu,

Happy to go over this with you.

The stimulus tells us that in a recent study of 5,000 individuals, on
the basis of a physical exam, more than 25 percent of people over 65
were malnourished, but only 12 percent of people over 65 fell below
government poverty standards.

65 +
25% malnourished
12% below poverty

That's weird. It's important to note that the 2% of people below
poverty could be anywhere in this group (they don't have to be a
subset of the 25% malnourished). And, even if this entire group were a
part of the 12% malnourished group, there would still be 13% of the
65+ group who were not poor but malnourished. This means that no
matter what, we know that there are some people in this age group who
are not in poverty but are still malnourished.

We're then told that a greater percentage of the people surveyed who
were 65 or younger fell below poverty standards than were found in the
study to be malnourished. It's important to note that we're not given
any info on comparison of this group to the older group; all we know
is that within the group of 65 or younger, more people are in poverty
than are malnourished. We can use whatever numbers we want as an
example for this as long as there's a higher percentage of 65 or
younger in poverty than malnourished.

65-
50% poverty
20% malnourished

This is also an interesting paradox. Like with the 65 or older group,
we do not know if there is any overlap in the 65 or younger group
between those who are in poverty and those who are malnourished. There
could be complete overlap, or there could be none at all. However,
what we do know for certain is that there are people who are 65 or
younger who are in poverty but no malnourished. That's an interesting
paradox.

We're tasked with choosing the answer choice that DOES NOT help us to
explain the findings in the study. This means that the four wrong
answer choices would help us to explain what's going on in the study.

(A) is incorrect because if doctors are less likely to correctly
diagnose and treat malnutrition in their patients who are over 65 than
in their younger patients, this helps to explain why older people are
more malnourished despite their lower relative poverty levels (doctors
are simply failing to correctly see that older people are
malnourished, which makes them less likely to diagnose and properly
treat them).

(B) is incorrect because if people over 65 are more likely to take
medications that increase their need for certain nutrients than are
people 65 or younger, then it makes sense why a higher percentage of
people over 65 are malnourished despite having fewer people in poverty
than in malnourishment. Older people could actually be consuming just
as many nutrients in their diet (or even more) than the younger
people, but the medications they're taking are creating larger
nutritional demands, leading more of them to be malnourished.

(C) is incorrect because if people over 65 are more likely to suffer
from loss of appetite due to medication than are people 65 or younger,
then that helps to explain how there are more malnourished than poor
people in the over 65 group. The appetite-suppressing medications
could be causing people over 65 who are not in poverty to become
malnourished because they're not eating enough.

(D) is correct because if people 65 or younger are no more likely to
fall below government poverty standards than are people over 65, this
does nothing to explain anything. We don't care if there are more,
fewer, or the same percentage of people in poverty when comparing the
over 65 and younger 65 age groups. What we care about are the RELATIVE
differences between the two age groups. Why are more people
malnourished than in poverty in the over 65 group, and why are more
people in poverty than malnourished in the under 65 group? (D) does
nothing to explain this to us, so it's irrelevant. This is our choice.

(E) is incorrect because if people 65 or younger are less likely to
have medical conditions that interfere with their digestion than are
people over 65, then it makes sense how more people over 65 could be
malnourished than in poverty. Even if they're not poor, their medical
conditions could be affecting their digestion, leading them to be
malnourished, so this helps explain the sociologist's findings.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!