there's a very good (or very disturbing, depending on your perspective) feature on Revolution Health today, about whether your state (they have US only) is fit or fat. Here's the link - these maps have been shown over the years at diabetes and obesity meetings where doctors gather and where we go to learn what they are learning.
The maps are divided into different shades, showing the states where less than 10% of the state is obese, between 10 and 15%, and so on. I always got depressed when another year went by and they'd have to add another color, because the percentage had gone up.
So Revolution Health does the maps better than anyone - you can slide between 1990 and 2006 and chart exactly what the country has done. It's mind blowing.
If you move the cursor to 1990 (a year that I remember vividly - it wasn't that long ago!), there's only one lone state that has over 15% of the population obese - and that was at a time when the national average was 11.6%. So 12% obese, that obviously doesn't sound great, right (obesity was defined as a BMI over 30 - yes there are problems using BMI as a definition, but still...)
So 1990, Mississippi (remember spelling that out as a kid?!) was 15%, and that was a green state. The only green state on the map - all the other states were gray (less than 10%) or, forebodingly, blue, which was between 10 and 15%. No states were yet yellow (20-24%), orange (25-30%), or red (over 30%). There were still at least 10 gray states then.
Flip to 1992 and there were just three gray states (Hawaii and Colorado - makes sense - and Arizona).
Flip to 1995 and there's a new color introduced, yellow, to signify 20-24% obese. One state is there, Indiana, with 20.1%.
Flip to 2000 and there's yet another new color introduced, orange, to show states with 25% or more obesity - and there, Mississippi again, 25%.
Move to 2001, 2002, 2003 ... and just more and more orange seeps into the graph. It's surreal. Meanwhile, Colorado is still blue, so below 15% obesity, oh good. Oh, no, actually, 2002, Colorado is green, so 15-19% obese.
Wow. 2005. ANOTHER new color, red, to show over 30% obese (30%!), and right away, the first year red hits, already there are three states. Which? Mississippi, right, at 30.9%, Louisiana at 30.8%, and West Virginia at 30.6%. Whew.
And then, today, the 2006 numbers are out. Overall, the obesity avarage has gone from 24.4% a year ago to 25.1% today. The map is so much more orange, allofasudden - in 1990 (which remember, I remember vividly and I'll bet you do too!), the obesity average was 11.6%. There are still three red states and still just
A word about green. In 2006, the only green is Colorado, but in 2004, there were at least five green states, among them Montana (19.7%), Massachusetts (18.4%), Connecticut (19.7%) and Vermont (18.7%) AND Colorado (16.8%) - but in 2006, there's just Colorado in green, though the obesity percentage there has increased to 18.2%. Stay green, Colorado! You can be the inspiration!
Here's one glimmer - obesity did according to these figures increase less from 2005 to 2006 (24.4% to 25.1%) than from 2004 to 2005 (23.2% to 24.4%). Is that because more people are out walking, paying attention to their hearts if nothing else? Mmm, I'm waking up our two year old and headed out now - this is all pretty frightening, especially for someone with diabetes.
So I am sort of morbidly fascinated with these graphs. It's 7:40 am and I feel I could play on it all morning. ...Exactly! That's the problem. Okay, I'm going to wake up Coco, get her her favorite soy milk in a sippy cup and walk with her to the Mission and get a coffee, sans the favorite Tartine morning bun ...if nothing else, the maps are inspiring me to turn it around and I hope I feel this way again tomorrow morning!