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Critical Reasoning: Assumption Questions

Despite the relentless pursuit of fitness portrayed by the media, the population of the nation is, on average, plumper than was the population 30 years ago. By 2008, the average adult is 11 pounds heavier than was the average adult in 1978.

Which of the following is an assumption underlying the argument above regarding today's average adult?

Well done!

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Plumpness is not just about weighing more. It is about the ratio of weight to height. To conclude that today's average adult is plumper, the author had to take into consideration both weight and height (a 6 foot tall man weighing 200 pounds is not plumper than a 5 foot tall man weighing 189 pounds - he's just bigger!). This answer choice presents a necessary assumption linking the premise to the conclusion, because without assuming that the heights are similar, the conclusion that today's average adult is plumper than his counterpart 30 years ago is weakened. 

Incorrect.

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The fact that today's average adult is not substantially overweight is irrelevant to the comparison between the average adult weight today and 30 years ago. Therefore, this is not a necessary assumption to reach the conclusion that today's average adult is plumper.

Did you know the meaning of the word plumper when you answered the question?

Incorrect.

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This answer choice presents a new premise about today's average adult. It is irrelevant whether this new data supports the conclusion; what you are looking for is the assumption, which should explain how the author drew the conclusion based on the existing premise.

Incorrect.

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If the author assumed today's average adult eats healthier food, why would the author draw the conclusion that today's average adult is plumper? This answer choice contradicts the conclusion.

Incorrect.

[[snippet]]

This answer choice presents a new premise about today's average adult. It is irrelevant whether this new data supports the conclusion; what you are looking for is the assumption, which should explain how the author drew the conclusion based on the existing premise.

Plumpness is not just about weighing more. It is about the ratio of weight to height. To conclude that today's average adult is plumper, the author had to take into consideration both weight and height (a 6 foot tall man weighing 200 pounds in not plumper than a 5 foot tall man weighing 189 pounds - he's just bigger!).

Okay. This answer is stating an assumption that opposes the information provided.
Today's average adult is not substantially overweight.
Today's average adult is trying to lose weight.
Today's average adult eats healthier food than did the average adult of the past.
Today's average adult is not older than was the average adult of the past.
Today's average adult is not significantly taller than was the average adult of the past.
Yes
No