10 July 2011

Obesity in the United States

I posted last week about the obesity epidemic in the U.S.  I don't want to beat the subject to death, but I just found data from an extensive study published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Here's an excerpt-
Adult obesity rates increased in 16 states in the past year and did not decline in any state, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011, a report from the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).  Twelve states now have obesity rates above 30 percent. Four years ago, only one state was above 30 percent...

Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 15 percent.  Today, more than two out of three states, 38 total, have obesity rates over 25 percent, and just one has a rate lower than 20 percent. Since 1995, when data was available for every state, obesity rates have doubled in seven states and increased by at least 90 percent in 10 others...

Today, the state with the lowest obesity rate would have had the highest rate in 1995,” said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH. “There was a clear tipping point in our national weight gain over the last twenty years, and we can't afford to ignore the impact obesity has on our health and corresponding health care spending.”
Additional text at Trust for America's Health, where the image is interactive and you can access state-specific data. 


  1. "Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 15 percent."

    Which is true, as the standards for what is considered obesity were changed 13 years ago.

  2. A followup on JDJarvis' point -

    Under the proposed guidelines, which are to be announced later this month by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 25 million more Americans would be considered overweight -- including two baseball third-basemen: Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves and Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles.

    More at The Big Fat Blog (http://www.bigfatblog.com/bmi-change-1998)

  3. The irony is that it all started when eating fat became "bad."

  4. If fat is "bad", substitutes must be good, right?

    Related: Fat substitutes used in popular snack foods to help people control weight may have the opposite effect

    Also good for a laugh: take a stroll down the candy aisle and see how many products are marketed as "fat free".

  5. The "five Sake' sampler" you can get at the sushi bar in Boulder where you get to choose which five you want might have something to do with this.

    Then again, maybe not, but I'm gettin' it again.

    Can you say "Kampai!" wearing Berkenstocks?

  6. I think obesity is definitely a problem, but not as big of one as we might think based on this graph.

    I am a person considered obese by simple definitions (based on height and weight only): 224 lbs, 6' tall male. When actually measured to obtain a BMI, I fall far short of obesity standards. I have an Nordic type of build: large head, freakishly huge shoulders and chest, thick waist, and very thick legs.

    I chose to do P90x over 90 days (as I did have a bit to lose) and ended up losing 8 lbs of fat and gaining around 12 lbs of muscle over the same time span. Still obese despite being in very good shape.

    I think there are a fair number of people (such as the baseball players mentioned) who just have abnormal builds but are classified as obese by the simple standards likely used in this survey.

  7. @Z. Constantine: thanks for the link. great article, something i've suspected for years. you can fool your mouth, but not your belly.


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