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Friday Judgment Call: United States obesity - Baxil [bakh-HEEL'], n. My Sites [Tomorrowlands] [The TTU Wiki] [Photos]
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June 24th, 2005
10:50 pm
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Friday Judgment Call: United States obesity
I was randomly riffling through blogs earlier this week, and ran across a tidbit in the comments section of a post I've long since forgotten the link to. It said that 80 percent of obese people in America lived in red states.

I recently posted a link about the geography and politics of marijuana use, and this tidbit's been bouncing around in my head the last few days, so this seemed like a natural follow-up.

Of course, the comment was completely unsourced, so I can't vouch for its accuracy at all. This is where you come in! Take the poll and let's match the claim up against conventional wisdom.

Poll #519880 U.S. obesity

80 percent of the United States' obese live in (conservative) red states.

True.
6(18.2%)
False.
27(81.8%)

A majority of the United States' obese live in (conservative) red states.

True.
24(72.7%)
False.
9(27.3%)


(I split it up into two questions because I'm also curious how many people don't believe it, but would if the figure were lower.)

If you have any discussion about why this might or might not be true, post it in comments. If you're able to find and source actual statistics, put them there too. Please vote before reading comments.

Current Mood: discontentdiscontent
Current Music: Bruce Hornsby, "Look Out Any Window"

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:baxil
Date:June 25th, 2005 06:14 am (UTC)
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I personally find it hard to believe 80 percent, for the following reasons:

1) I thought the population of blue states was higher than red states, which in itself means getting to 80 percent is an uphill battle. On the other hand, I can't source this tidbit either. Anyone with good Google-fu want to do a little legwork on this? (What I do know is that California, by itself, is 33 million people, about 10 percent of U.S. population.)

2) Higher obesity rates are correlated with poverty (I can't be bothered to spend time digging up the source here, but it's from much more reputable sources than some anonymous blog commenter). The biggest poverty problems are in rural areas and in cities. Cities, by their nature, have more people; and I would think there are more and bigger cities in blue states.
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From:taral
Date:June 25th, 2005 03:44 pm (UTC)
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http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/prev_reg.htm

They appear to be fairly evenly distributed.
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From:baxil
Date:June 25th, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I'd say that by itself is probably enough to put the lid on the "80 percent" idea. The map that that page links to makes the trend a little geographically clearer. The northeast is slightly less obese than average, but so is the Midwest. The west coast is in the middle of the pack.

I can't see any trivial way of settling the "majority" question from there. It would be simple enough to multiply state percentages by state populations and add, but it would take some gruntwork. An off-the-cuff way to guess at it would be to assume that the percentages even out in the wash, and just look at the total red state vs. blue state population -- but I don't even have that population data immediately handy.
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From:walks_far
Date:June 25th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)
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This could give a whole new meaning to the phrase "Fat Cats."
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From:r_caton
Date:June 25th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
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I wanted to say that! *sulks*
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