« Five steps to let the young ones shine | Main | Nice example of visual story-telling in the FT »


Colin Fredericks

Ugh. You can't fix this graph because the data is bad from the start.

Eating more of something or less of something should not be described as absolutely good or bad unless that thing is not a food. Eating closer to the recommended amount should be good, and eating far away from the recommended amount should be bad, otherwise a recommendation to eat a specific amount makes no sense.

Also, "percent of population above/below" tells us nothing about how close those people are to the recommended amount. It's clear in the original graph that a large percentage of people get too much salt, but how much more?

The worst thing about this chart, though, is that the percentages add up to 100% in each row, which means that no one is eating the right amount of anything. This is either incredibly dire or total BS, and my money is on the latter.


CF: Can't argue with that. You're arguing against all "proficiency" metrics. It's a pretty complicated issue - having one standard for all Americans also seems wrong, but it's tough to communicate a highly-nuanced recommendation for different slices of the population.


I don't see a value in making the bars float around a centre, since they're all 100% in total length. I think the chart should be stacked bars adding to 100%.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Kaiser Fung. Business analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker.
Visit my website. Follow my Twitter. See my articles at Daily Beast, 538, HBR.

See my Youtube and Flickr.

Book Blog

Link to junkcharts

Graphics design by Amanda Lee

The Read

Keep in Touch

follow me on Twitter