Thursday, January 02, 2020

Half of Americans Will Be Obese by 2030

A new study predicts that by the end of this decade half of all adult Americans will be obese. Already there are ten states in the U.S. with obesity levels over 45%, including Mississippi (the state with the highest obesity rate) where already around half the adult population are obese. Based on the rate of increase in obesity rates over the last few decades by the year 2030 50% of all adult Americans will be obese.

Time has used data from this new study to map the state obesity rates for 2000, 2010, 2019 and the projected obesity rate for 2030. The data for these four maps comes from the study Projected U.S. State-Level Prevalence of Adult Obesity and Severe Obesity, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Time maps show the obesity levels in each state for the last three decades and the projected obesity rate in each state for the end of this new decade.

In Half of the U.S. Population Will Be Obese by 2030 Time has used the Datawrapper platform to create interactive maps of U.S. obesity rates. For some strange & perverse reason Time has only posted screenshots of these interactive maps (including the zoom buttons). So although the maps were originally interactive (and still look interactive) they are only presented as static maps in the article (with no link to the original interactive maps). This means that if you want to explore the actual obesity rates for different states you will need to read the original study on the New England Journal of Medicine.

Poverty is of course one of the biggest indicators of obesity levels. This means that state level rates of obesity aren't particularly informative. To truly explore the geography of obesity we need maps which show obesity rates at least at the county level. At this level median levels of income can then be more accurately compared with local obesity levels.

You can explore 2011 obesity data down to the county level on the University of Washington's US Health Map. This map allows you to explore at county level the obesity rates for both males and females. The Health Map includes health data on smoking, diabetes and alcohol use. It also includes data on life expectancy and mortality rates down to the county level.

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