Understanding relative risk

Psychologist Polly Palumbo, PhD, shares tips for parents on the importance of understanding relative risk in parenting media studies and reports
Parenting Tips - Understanding Relative Risk In Parenting Media
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Understanding relative risk

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Parents hear about a lot of risks in the media. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what those risks mean. For instance, parents might hear that children who aren't breastfed are 50 percent more likely to have an ear infection than kids who are breastfed; but the media won't report how many ear infections children get. Let's say breastfed children get two ear infections a year, the children who weren't breastfed, only get three infections a year. That's not a lot not that much. It's important not to look at the dramatic headline, 50 percent increase or 80 percent increase, or at double or triple risk, without looking at the overall risk.

Psychologist Polly Palumbo, PhD, shares tips for parents on the importance of understanding relative risk in parenting media studies and reports

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Polly Palumbo, PhD

Psychologist

Polly Palumbo, PhD, is a former research psychologist and founder of Momma Data, a non-profit organization that tracks the parenting media and checks on the scientific evidence behind claims about children’s health and well-being. As a research consultant, she reviews and decodes studies for parents, educators, journalists and organizations. In the past she’s conducted and collaborated on numerous research projects in psychology, health and education across academia, government and the private sector and has co-authored articles in leading academic journals and texts.  As an outspoken critic of the parenting media, the only thing she enjoys better than reading a great study is debunking a bad one on her Momma Data blog. It’s her mission to flush out misinformation in the media and coach parents how to judge news and evidence about kids.      

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