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How to explain to non-statisticians that if we have e.g. obesity rate equal to 40% in men and 12% in women, the target values in men and women in 2030 should NOT be equal to 38% in men and 10% in women? Do you know any paper/guide that would explain it to policy-makers that one should take into account the baseline level, when assuming the target values? Actually, I would like to show that time series of social indicators are more likely to show exponential trends instead of linear trends. Any help will be appreciated.

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  • $\begingroup$ Why do you think the rates can't decrease? Second, what is a forcasted target? A forecast is a guess; a target is a wish. $\endgroup$ – Dave Aug 20 '19 at 10:12
  • $\begingroup$ I meant target values. Actually, I would like to show that it is unfair to demand decrease of obesity rate by 2 percentage points both in men and women, since the baseline levels equal to 40% and 12%, respectively. I would like to justify the need of assuming a relative reduction, as Stephan Kolassa stated. $\endgroup$ – Harel Aug 20 '19 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ That's a huge difference, and you should edit the post to reflect this. $\endgroup$ – Dave Aug 20 '19 at 10:34
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First, there is a difference between a forecast (what we expect to happen given specific circumstances) and a target (what we want to happen, and are prepared to change circumstances to achieve).

Second, to your question: I believe that this point is so trivial that nobody would publish anything on it. And it should be easily explainable. I doubt that someone who will not or cannot follow the explanation would be convinced by a reference.

You may have more luck in framing the development differently. "Obesity incidence will be reduced by 10% in both men and women" is a relative reduction and translates into a reduction from 40% to 36% in men and from 12% to 10.8% in women.

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