Health – for primary school
Look out for treatment effects that are described just using words.
A treatment effect is a change in an outcome caused by a treatment. The size of a treatment effect can be described using numbers. For example, 6 out of 10 people may be better after one week with a treatment and 5 out of 10 people may be better without that treatment. Then the effect of the treatment (the difference) is 1 more person out of 10 who will be better with the treatment.
Words can also be used to describe treatment effects. For example 2 more people out of 10 might be described as a “small effect”. Words can be easier to understand than numbers, but they can mean different things to different people. Also, words can be used to trick people. For example, someone selling a treatment might say that it has “amazing results” or might describe a treatment as “natural”, suggesting that it is safe because of that.
REMEMBER: Don’t be tricked by the words that are used to describe treatment effects. When possible, consider the numbers that describe how big an effect is and not just the words.