While the numbers displayed are staggering, that map only tells part of the story:
– It is only about adults.
– It displays obesity, not % overweight.
CalorieLab has been tracking obesity in states for several years, and has been tweaking their methods over time, now depending on a three-year rolling average to smooth out spikes and look at long-term issues. Somewhat disturbing is that they have had to change their scales (pun intended) because the obesity trends just keep getting worse:
because of the overall increase in obesity, CalorieLab this year again shifted the color coding used in its map one percentage point higher to maintain an approximately equal number of states per color. This means that this year’s map cannot be directly compared to previous years’ maps.
So basically CalorieLab took the advice from Brody in Jaws — “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” As we get more and more obese as a country, they are just upping their scales.
As I mentioned, the picture is incomplete because it ignores children and the map looks only at adult obesity. I understand the focus on adult obesity to a large extent, as obesity is a threshold that has significant health and insurance/budget implications. For the adult side of things, the % Overweight is astounding as well: even in the ‘Leanest State’ of Colorado, a full 55.6% of adults are overweight. While the 19.6% obese is still better than the more than 35% 2009 Obesity figure in Mississippi, that still means more than half of the ‘leanest’ state is overweight and one in five are obese!
The childhood obesity figures are even more grim. Why? Because they are uniformly worse. The 2009 map isn’t out yet, but even the 2007 numbers are higher for children than for adults:
The scales are higher here, with only three states in the 20-25% Obese, and a full 9 states (plus the District of Columbia) at >35.1% Obese.
We are in the middle of summer, which is the greatest time to get yourself moving across the country. As someone who plays and reviews tons of video games, I know it is critically important to find the proper balance in life to ensure I get enough activity and maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight. Our children are bombarded from all sides with messages compelling them to spend more and more ‘screen time’ with their various games and video devices in non-active ways, so it is our job as parents to keep them active and moving.
Several Gear Diary folks have been doing the ‘Couch to 5K (C25K)‘ programs to keep themselves active. So what are you doing to keep yourself and your family from becoming a statistic on that graph?