Monday, April 26, 2021

Mapping World Obesity

According to data from the World Obesity Federation around 23.29% of American boys are obese. This means that the USA ranks as 12th in the list of countries with the highest percentage of obese male children. The Cook Islands rank first in this list, with 33.3% of boys in the Cook Islands diagnosed as obese.

The World Obesity Federation is a not-for-profit organization which represents and links scientific, medical and research communities from obesity associations around the world. The Federation's main goal is to halt the rise of global obesity. It works to achieve this through research and education, which can be used by governments and health authorities around the world to help manage and prevent obesity. 

The World Obesity Federation data on global obesity levels can be accessed in a number of ways, including on the WOF Interactive Map This interactive globe allows you to explore and compare the obesity data of countries around the world. You can select to view adult (male & female) and children (male & female) obesity rates of countries via a choropleth layer. You can also click on individual countries to view the male and female, adult and children obesity data for the selected country.

The globe also allows you to view other data relevant to obesity rates. These other data sets include data on different types of food consumption, diabetes prevalence and obesity rates by socio-economic status. 

A study published in 2019 predicted 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). Half of the adult population in Mississippi 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 the 2019 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.

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