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GRE Argument Essay; The Citizens Of Forsythe Have Adopted More Healthful Lifestyles - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: ‘The following appeared in a health magazine. "The citizens of Forsythe have adopted more healthful lifestyles. Their responses to a recent survey show that in their eating habits they conform more closely to government nutritional recommendations than they did ten years ago. Furthermore, there has been a fourfold increase in sales of food products containing kiran, a substance that a scientific study has shown reduces cholesterol. This trend is also evident in reduced sales of sulia, a food that few of the most healthy citizens regularly eat." Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.’
First of all, the author suggests that the citizens of Forsythe have adopted more healthful lifestyles since the survey shows that their eating habits are more nutritious. To evaluate this claim, we need evidence about if the survey is representative. If the sampling population of that survey is not large enough, or the participants they chose were biased, then, the result of the survey would not reflect eating habits of the majority citizens, and the result would not be conclusive. For this reason, the author’s argument would be weakened because the given supporting evidence is problematic.
Morever, the author also implies the link between the increase in sales of food products containing kiran and citizens having adopted healthful lifestyles. To test the veracity of that implied link, we need evidence to show whether citizens consume more food products containing kiran because they want to be healthy, and thus they purchase more food products containing kiran on purpose, or whether food manufacturers added kiran into various food products while consumers are not even aware of that. If the increase in sales of food products containing kiran is a coincidence, and people buy more food products containing kiran for other reasons instead of realizing kiran can help reducing cholesterol, then, the author’s claim would be weakened.
Furthermore, the author also mentions the link between sales of sulia and citizens having adopted healthy lifestyles. In order to evaluate this claim, we need evidence about the nutritional content of sulia, and whether people choose not to buy products containing sulia solely due to their health concerns. The argument would be weakened if the evidence show that sulia is actually a healthful substance; but even if sulia is not good for the health, there can be a plethora of reasons (such as bad taste, expense) other than health concerns that prevent people from purchasing food products containing sulia.
To sum up, in order to evaluate the author’s conclusion, we need evidence to show whether the survey is reliable, and whether people choose to buy or not buy some food products due to their health concerns.
Your arguments are reasonable here, but there's one question that your essay does not answer that it really ought to answer. Let's assume that the author's argument wasn't weakened in any of the ways you suggest it might be, given the right evidence. Let's assume in other words that the results of the survey are statistically significant, that consumers of Kiran-laced food are motivated by an ardent desire to reduce the amount of cholesterol clogging their arteries; and that Sulia is associated with five different conditions ending is "-osis" and is avoided for that reason. What then? That's the question.
The longer version of that question is this: "What specific evidence is [still] needed to evaluate the argument" that "the citizens of Forsythe have adopted more healthful lifestyles." Frankly, I'm not impressed by these fictional citizens of Forsythe. I suspect Forsythe is rapidly becoming the cholesterol capital of the world and this Kiran fad is a last-ditch effort to postpone the inevitable slew of quadruple-bypass procedures.