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Single Distribution Theory of Consumption

The single distribution theory (also often called the Ledermann theory in alcohol studies) is a misunderstanding of a statistical concept. It is interpreted to justify measures to restrict consumption or other behaviors considered hazardous or otherwise undesirable.

The theory was originally developed in relation to the consumption of alcohol in a homogeneous population and held that consumption was distributed lognormally with a fixed proportion of the population drinking more than the beverage equivalent of one liter of pure alcohol per day. As a result the proportion of “excessive drinkers” (variously defined) could be determined by the average consumption of the population. Although taken seriously enough by some to result in the production of tables giving the proportions of excessive drinkers corresponding to various levels of ...

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