AQA GCSE Biology

Revision Notes

2.4.4 Data & Applications of Lifestyle Disease

Sampling, Translating & Interpreting Data

  • Sampling allows researchers to infer (deduce/conclude) information about a population without having to investigate every individual which would be time-consuming and essentially impossible to do accurately
  • Scientists sample populations to determine risk factors for different diseases and inform public health policy
    • For example; sampling individuals with type 2 diabetes and identifying patterns or similarities in their lifestyle and health condition allows scientists to deduce that obesity and a diet high in sugar and fat are risk factors for developing this condition (as these factors are found in most individuals who develop type 2 diabetes)
  • Scientists present their findings in graphical and numerical forms top identify if there are relationships between risk factors and certain disease
  • Scatter diagrams are used to identify correlations between two variables to determine if a factor (such as obesity) does increase the risk of developing a disease (such as type 2 diabetes)

Exam Tip

You should be able to translate information between graphical and numerical forms and extract and interpret information from charts, graphs and tables to determine risk factors.

Applications of Non-Communicable Diseases

  • Lifestyle factors such as diet, alcohol consumption and choosing to smoke have a big impact on the incidence of non-communicable diseases at all levels in society (from the individual to national and globally)
  • Poor lifestyle factors such as those mentioned above increase the likelihood of individuals within a population suffering from non-communicable disease
    • Remember a non-communicable disease is not caused by a pathogen and tends to have more longer-lasting effects on the health of an individual (usually they get progressively worse over time)

Smoking as an example

  • An individual who smokes cigarettes is far more likely to suffer lung cancer than an individual who doesn’t
  • Treatment for cancer includes surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy – all of these require hospitalisation and access to the right medication
  • Hospitalisation utilises healthcare capacity and medicinal drugs – costing time and money at both a local and national level (and a personal level if healthcare is self-funded)
  • The individual with lung cancer may not be able to work whilst receiving treatment, this reduces their income and loss of work can have a profound effect on mental health
  • Nationally; the inability of individuals to work can affect a countries economy
  • A causal mechanism has been proven for some risk factors, but not in others

Exam Tip

You should be able to discuss the human and financial cost of non-communicable diseases (such as cancer or CHD) at an individual, a local community, a national and a global level.

Author: Jenna

Jenna studied at Cardiff University before training to become a science teacher at the University of Bath specialising in Biology (although she loves teaching all three sciences at GCSE level!). Teaching is her passion, and with 10 years experience teaching across a wide range of specifications – from GCSE and A Level Biology in the UK to IGCSE and IB Biology internationally – she knows what is required to pass those Biology exams.
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