Friday, November 21, 2014

Obesity Rates Across America provides access to a number of great government produced data sets.   The dataset used for this viz was provided by the USDA.  The Food Environment Atlas dataset contains a huge variety of statistics on food prices, programs, access, etc.

Using this dataset, it was determined that almost 28% of the US population is classified as obese.  A person is classified as obese if they have a BMI greater than 30.  BMI is calculated as ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703.  This would mean that for the avg. American male, at 5’ 9.5” tall, they would be obese if they weighed more than 207 lbs.  For women, avg. height of 5’ 4”, they would have to weigh more than 175 lbs. to be considered obese.

The map shows a strong regional trend in obesity in the South; where the highest obesity rates are found.  The three highest obesity rates are found in this region:  Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas.  Southern comfort food?  On the other end of the spectrum, Coloroda is an outlier with a relatively low obesity rate of 21% (Massachusetts is the next closest, at 23%.)  Outdoor activities keeping people "thin?"

Click around the viz to watch the stick man grow and view your own state's details.  Curious what your BMI is?  Use the calculator in the top right to see how you're classified.


  1. Awesome Viz!
    The twitter plugin is blocking me from entering numbers...pls fix that.