Binge Drinking

Alisa Kim

According to the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, binge drinking is very common among adults in the U.S. Not only is it common, but those who do binge drink were of a younger age and did so frequently and with high intensity. This report offers good data sets that can help address the situation raise the concern. However, data sets can be presented in several ways and how they are presented really do matter on whether the viewers understand the information that is trying to be relayed to them. Personally, I always found very visual and graphic methods more appealing and easier to understand. So in my visualization project, I generally kept the color scheme very neutral and the same font throughout so that the graphics that I incorporated could really pop out. I also put all of my visualizations together from scratch on Photoshop.

Popularity of Binge Drinking: Male Vs. Female
On the actual report, the title to this data was “Prevalence of Binge Drinking: Male vs Female”. I felt like though that it could have been likely for some people to not know the word “prevalence,” so I replaced it with a more general and well-known term. This data set is depicted by the male and female symbol that is used and generally known to represent the average male and female. The placing of the numbers is to show that binge drinking is more popular among men than female. The numbers is filled actually with beer bubbles as well, to add a little fun to it. I chose this method to depict the statistics because it is visually straight forward so that it can be understood immediately. Because there is only two numbers, the information would be too bland and boring if it were portrayed any other way.

Frequency of Binge Drinking: Education Level
A line graph was used to portray the frequency of binge drinking episodes per month to show the correlation of high education level to low frequency of binge drinking episodes per month. The line shows the downward trend that makes the information more clear. I added the cocktail cup to make the chart a little more fun than a regular line chart. Initially, I had used graduation caps as the image, but realized that made the information more confusing because the graduation caps were higher as the frequency rose. The graduation cap, however, has an elite and positive connotation, which is completely opposite of what the information is trying to get across, and seems like the image is correlated to the education level rather than the frequency. The image is crucial in graphs/ visualizations like this because it can potentially confuse viewers of what is trying to be portrayed.

Binge drinking is reported by one in six U.S. adults
I initially intended to use the program wordle for this portion, but realized that wordle randomizes the words too much. The sentence was incoherent and hard to read. So after being inspired by wordle, I created my own version by specifically manipulating the placing of each word so that it still has a similar effect, but is easier to read the sentence. I made the words that I thought were the main parts to the sentence, like the topic (Binge drinking), and the data (one in six). So even if people don’t really read the whole sentence, by just glancing at the visual, they can still understand and process the information.

Intensity of Binge Drinking by Age
When I first saw this information, I knew I wanted to use a bar graph to show the different levels of intensity that is based on age. I transformed this idea by replacing the bar with actual beer pitchers to really make the representation literal. This method i think is much more clearer and much more effective in getting the message across to its viewers because it makes the information relatable with a concrete object that is the problem (too much alcohol). After trying out this method, I didn’t think any other visualization would have been suited for this. A line graph could have been appropriate, but it would only show the correlation than the actual number of drinks.

 

Bibliography

“Vital Signs: Binge Drinking Prevalence, Frequency, and Intensity Among Adults — United States, 2010.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 06 Feb. 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6101a4.htm?s_cid=mm6101a4_w>.

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