r/dataisbeautiful OC: 1 Oct 06 '21 Silver 3 Gold 1 Helpful 2 Wholesome 1

"Normal Weight" BMI Prevalence by US State [OC] OC

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8.8k Upvotes

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u/Sepinscg Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

From this data, is it true that in all states at least 62.2% of people are either underweight or overweight?

edit: 59.9% , I overlooked Hawaii

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u/Data_Destroyer Oct 06 '21

I'll give you a hint: it's not underweight

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u/BMonad Oct 06 '21

Yeah if I had to guess I’d say <1% of the country falls into that “underweight” category. It’s kind of crazy but we’ve managed to create a society where poverty levels are highly correlated to obesity.

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u/lemon_battery Oct 06 '21

It's like 1.2% nationwide for underweight.

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u/Robinslillie Oct 06 '21

If I'm gonna be in a 1% category, at least it's this one.

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u/Tuvey27 Oct 06 '21

Being underweight is oftentimes more unhealthy than being somewhat overweight. This isn’t to say that there’s nothing wrong with being overweight, just that being underweight is just as much—if not more—of an issue.

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u/XxUCFxX Oct 06 '21

I’m underweight and there are definitely plenty of downsides, but do you mind explaining how it’s just as bad or worse than being (slightly) overweight?

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u/alyssasaccount Oct 06 '21

Well the main thing would be that, as reported by The Lancet, based solely on your BMI you are more likely to die compared to someone who is borderline obese.

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u/Fox100000 Oct 06 '21

I'm pretty sure being slightly overweight is not worse than being slightly underweight. You probably heard being very underweight can maybe be worse than being slightly overweight.

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u/alyssasaccount Oct 06 '21

It's more than that. The lowest mortality rates are generally associated with BMIs near 25 kg/m2 (the boundary between "normal" and "overweight"), and the risk rises more gradually for BMIs weights than for lower. Being at the low end of "normal" is about as bad as being borderline "obese" for people under 50, and substantially worse for people over 50.

Source: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(18)30288-2/fulltext

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u/Amy_Ponder Oct 06 '21

Yep, if this map isn't enough to convince you that obesity isn't a personal failing but a public health crisis with systemic causes, I don't know what is.

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u/sweats_while_eating Oct 06 '21

Something something government subsidies of fructose, FDA fuck ups...

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u/BaseBoned Oct 06 '21
  • "Fat is the issue" fabricated narrative over the past 30 years. Meanwhile manufacturers pouring HFCS into every single food and drink
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u/Alain_Bourbon Oct 06 '21

People hold very tightly to their just world fallacy. The 'if I can do it you can' bullshit is strong.

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u/ManicJam Oct 06 '21

59.9 - You missed Hawaii

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u/Sepinscg Oct 06 '21

ah yea, thanks :)

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u/HEMATOSPERMIA-MAN Oct 06 '21

Yup. There's a reason news has been reporting on the obesity epidemic for years and the international stereotype for Americans is being fat.

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u/DeliciousDelusion Oct 06 '21

Damn Colorado, daymn Massachusettssss

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u/kgunnar OC: 1 Oct 06 '21

Don’t forget Hawaii.

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u/TheBB Oct 06 '21

Honestly quite surprised about Hawaii. I thought it was supposed to be struggling with obesity.

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u/ensui67 Oct 06 '21

It does. Nearly 40% of the adult population has diabetes or prediabetes. Also, just because the state is green on the chart, doesn’t really mean that there isn’t a large population of morbidly obese people. In fact, the majority are still not “normal” by these metrics. Don’t think much of that 60% is underweight.

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u/chilispicedmango Oct 06 '21

East/Southeast Asians (plurality ancestry group in HI, majority if you include mixed-race) are at risk for lifestyle diseases at lower BMIs than other groups

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u/Interesting-Wish8316 Oct 06 '21

Hawaii has 38% Asian, 26% White, and only 10% Native Hawaii. It is the last group that is famous for having prevalent obesity issues.

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u/_AlreadyTaken_ Oct 06 '21

Guam has one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes. One theory I read was that polynesian populations selected for the ability to retain calories due to long periods of semi-starvation on ocean trips and living on isolated islands. The sudden introduction of calorie dense modern food caused a weight gain explosion.

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u/Living-Complex-1368 Oct 06 '21

I remember reading an article on a group feeding native Hawaiians traditional food of their culture and those Hawaiians losing weight, but I don't know if it worked long term.

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u/ThisFingGuy Oct 06 '21

It is a problem among native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, but most people living in Hawaii are Asian and/or white.

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u/pinky_blues Oct 06 '21

And they still have just under two thirds outside the normal range. That’s a lot of overweight people.

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u/bellelap Oct 06 '21

Bay Stater. While I think MA definitely has a populace that collectively embraces outdoor recreation, the real reason is that the state is relatively well off. Most people can afford good food, regular preventative healthcare, and have enough time to take care of themselves. Our urban centers are relatively small and walkable as well, so food deserts are rare and walking and biking are key modes of transport. Those that do not have the means to care for themselves are better supported than in many other states. I have no doubt that living in New England is adding years to my life.

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u/Ducksilver Oct 06 '21

Agreed. Also, lots of college students and younger professionals in MA. BMI tends to increase with age.

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u/TheCityThatCriedWolf Oct 06 '21

Yeah same. The amount of walking I do compared to when I lived back west is crazy. And I honestly love it… you know when it’s not a blighted snow-scape…

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u/FreeBeans Oct 06 '21

After living in CA and moving to MA, I am shocked when I go back to my hometowns Minnesota/Texas and see so many obese people.

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u/Apprehensive_Text_68 Oct 06 '21

I grew up in Ca and live in MA and visiting my sister in the south was an experience. She’s put on at least 70 lbs since moving there a few years back and there are so many extraordinarily large people there. After being there a few days and eating the heavy food and avoiding movement at all costs I get it, but I didn’t like it.

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u/Lunar30 Oct 06 '21

I used to live in CO. The Denver Metro area is where a large majority of fit people live. The rest of the state seemed to be the overweight part. People there would question stats about other areas being so overweight because you just really didn’t see it. It even motivated me to lose a bunch of weight being there. Looking back at the state I grew up in, it seems people eating cheaper foods and not having the means to eat healthy is a huge factor.

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u/shortarmed Oct 06 '21

That's pretty consistent everywhere. Obesity is what malnourishment looks like in the age of processed foods and in areas with limited access to affordable fresh produce. Our subsidies ensure that empty calories are cheaper than healthier foods and rural obesity is a direct result.

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u/[deleted] Oct 06 '21

That, and time. You can eat cheaply and well, but it takes time.

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u/the_fit_hit_the_shan Oct 06 '21

Cheap, fast, healthy. Pick two.

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u/Chorizwing Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

I disagree. I live in the valley where Aspen is and since there is so much outdoor activities around here (hiking, skying,biking, ect) most people are fit af here too. I figure a lot of mountain towns are this way. Now the half without mountains is probably a diffrent story.

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u/marigolds6 Oct 06 '21

Being normal weight has little to do with how active you are.

It is totally about diet.

As an example, I have been running 15 miles a week and doing high intensity workouts 3 hours a week for 21 months. First 12 months, I dropped from 190 to 180, still very much morbidly obese at 5'0". Second 9 months (so far) I cut my daily calorie intake to 2000 calories ("normal") but also started eating far more vegetables and unprocessed foods. My food bill nearly doubled, but I lost 50 lbs. I'm still overweight despite all the loose skin hanging off me, but it was diet, not exercise, that was the key.

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u/WildRookie Oct 06 '21

It's impossible to outrun your fork. It's a very easy saying to remember, and it's helped me drop 50+ lbs during the pandemic.

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u/Zank_Frappa Oct 06 '21

Here I am struggling to eat 4k+ calories a day to keep up with my activity level! It is absolutely possibly to "outrun your fork" but most people don't have the time or motivation.

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u/Ndi_Omuntu Oct 06 '21

Tbh as someone who's struggled with weight my whole life: I had worked off about 100lbs and then started marathon training. I stopped losing weight because I wasn't watching my calories but running so much just made me ravenous. So training for a marathon was just barely enough to keep out running my fork. (and definitely hear you on the time commitment! Running was basically my only hobby)

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u/[deleted] Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 20 '21

[deleted]

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u/QuarterSwede Oct 06 '21

Nah, it’s like that everywhere in CO. Fat people are few and far between. Hell, the neighborhood I’m building in (not Denver) has 50 miles of trails for biking, running, and walking. Neighborhood. Not park.

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u/LFCMKE Oct 06 '21

It’s definitely NOT like that in Greeley

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u/biasedsoymotel Oct 06 '21

Went out for brunch in Denver and everyone was wearing atheleisure. Like "being active and fit" was just the way you're supposed to be. Not a fan of the fashion but the focus on fitness was nice.

-jorts-wearing PNW resident

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u/FlashCrashBash Oct 06 '21

I live in MA, so not far off from CO by this graph.

And dear god people are so fucking fat here. And this is apparently one of the best places obesity wise? Dear god how does the rest of the country fit through doors.

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u/mic569 Oct 06 '21

After moving out of Massachusetts, you’d be surprised how fucking FAT the rest of the country is.

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u/Wbcn_1 Oct 06 '21

The closer you live to Boston the thinner people are in general. I believe this is the pattern elsewhere. Population centers are generally in better overall health.

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u/alkakfnxcpoem Oct 06 '21

Right?! I'm from Mass and I remember going to Spain in 2010 and being shocked by how few fat people there are.

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u/FlashCrashBash Oct 06 '21

And like I don't mean like some dude with a bit of a gut, I mean people with a BMI of at least 45.

Like, seat all the way back in their car because otherwise the steering wheel digs into their gut, so much that it makes the vehicle unsafe to drive fat.

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u/FreddieB_13 Oct 06 '21

Spaniard here and Spain as a whole only has fat people in the south, in Andalusia, and even that is far from what is considered fat in the US. People just take better care of themselves there.

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u/Papancasudani Oct 06 '21

Ironic that the states that are the shining examples of fitness still only have about 1/3 of residents in the normal weight range.

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u/BarryAllensMom Oct 06 '21

Colorado is literally filled with people that go to bed at 7pm so they can wake up at 4am to go on a morning hike with their dog before work.

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u/Extreme-Boat-2767 Oct 06 '21

You're not wrong. I can't tell you how many times arriving at trail head at 8 meant a full parking lot.

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u/Word_to_Bigbird Oct 06 '21

Man, I live near the Adirondacks in NY and out here you better be at the trailhead before 6 AM if you want a spot for any high peaks.

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u/Anustart15 Oct 06 '21

Pretty similar for the white mountains in NH. Doesn't help that we have pretty small trailhead lots in the Northeast compared to a lot of other places

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u/Cmcgee23 Oct 06 '21

Lmao just woke up afyer going to bed at 8pm and checking reddit before taking the dog for a hike this morning.

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u/tunisia3507 Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

And yet fewer than 2 in 5 are "normal" BMI.

Colorado is a fat state. It just happens to be the least fat state of a very fat country.

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u/mattindustries OC: 18 Oct 06 '21

This whole thing should really be done on a county level (and ideally zip code level). Minnesota is ranked pretty poorly, but Minneapolis and St. Paul both make top 10 lists for fittest cities in the nation.

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u/mooimafish3 Oct 06 '21

Yep, I live in Austin Texas, not fit all around by any means, but it's a world of difference compared to rural places.

There you see just entire generations of enormous people standing around wheezing.

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u/[deleted] Oct 06 '21

Can confirm, I live in Colorado and wake up at 5:30 every morning to exercise my dog (and myself).

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u/DeathCobro Oct 06 '21

I'm awake at 6 am lol from the night before let's go colo

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u/kimjongunderdog Oct 06 '21

Can confirm. Just did bicep curls, and about to go walk the dog before work.

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u/TheRealSteekster OC: 2 Oct 06 '21

Can also confirm. Am awake before work getting shit done

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u/Sirerdrick64 Oct 06 '21

When I went there once I looked around and thought to myself “these are my people!”
Out here in Michigan most people are fat, and sedentary.
In CO it was a challenge to go anywhere without super high performance bikers / runners surrounding you in all the excellent trails / sidewalks they have.
I greatly enjoyed it out there.
This is to say nothing of the unparalleled natural beauty.

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u/Extreme-Boat-2767 Oct 06 '21

As a nurse who lived in Philadelphia 40 years and moved to Colorado (skinniest state multiple years in a row), I can tell you there Is a BIG difference!

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u/_BreakingGood_ Oct 06 '21

Yeah, it was weird going from my local area (where being thin is a rarity) to Colorado where almost nobody was fat at all.

Given, I visited the mountainous/outdoors attractions in CO so I think there is a disproportionate amount of fit people there.

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u/crashtacktom Oct 06 '21

Counterpoint, the Lake District in the UK is one of the most outdoorsy and hilly areas of England, but Cumbria has one of the highest obesity rates

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u/impalafork Oct 06 '21

It's hard work to walk up those hills when you could just drive it and have a pub lunch anyway.

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u/sauerteigh Oct 06 '21

It's also dead nice to go for a walk in July or August but much of the year its cold and pissing it down.

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u/Mhony19 Oct 06 '21

Having grown up in the Lake District and now living in Colorado, this is a very good point. It all comes down to wealth - most of the population centers in Cumbria are not actually in the Lake District but along the coast and are, to varying degrees, fairly impoverished. As someone else has pointed out, most of Colorado's population is in the Denver Metro which as a whole is pretty well off.

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u/Extreme-Boat-2767 Oct 06 '21

I work in Northeastern CO with many working class Hispanics, ranchers, oil/gas workers (ie: not many Patagonia puffers out there) and I still don't see the feel the rates of extreme obesity out there.

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u/ft_crassus Oct 06 '21

Wealth/poverty probably pays a factor in body weight too, unless that was your point.

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u/DrunkasCheese Oct 06 '21

Exactly. When I moved to Colorado I was overweight quit a better paying job. After living there for 4 years I was still poor but in great shape. 10 years later I moved out of Colorado and make more and am overweight again.

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u/cobordism Oct 06 '21

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u/DrunkasCheese Oct 06 '21

I was going to make a joke about how skinny breatharians are in Colorado because of the thin air. But in that link they talk about altitude and oxygen levels.

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u/class-action-now Oct 06 '21

Just moved out of CO to the Midwest. I knew the statistics, but the reality of it really is shocking.

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u/geometer2015 Oct 06 '21

I noticed it when I was waiting at an airport terminal. The people who queued to fly to NC looked quite different from the people who were standing by the gate next to it bound for CO.

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u/fuccccccccu Oct 06 '21

Going from Colorado to Texas for Christmas is humbling. Walking into HEB and seeing multiple 8-10 year old kids with Michelin Man arms holding sodas and candy waiting in line is so sad to me.

They never had a chance.

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u/Christompaman Oct 06 '21

Try going to East for Southeast Asia… it’s like fat people don’t even exist.

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u/The_Swoley_Ghost Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

Currently in [not South East] Asia and when I see an obese person in public they REALLY stand out, and I feel sad for them. In NYC it was like every other person on the train was at least fat if not obese, it seemed.

Edit: My experience is in South Korea where obesity is pretty rare. There are overweight people, especially middle-aged people, but seeing a really fat young person is not common.

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u/Baalsham Oct 06 '21

In China, at least in the big cities, a solid 1/5 of kids are fat. Likely will be like western countries in 10-20 years :(

Also, due to their work culture of forcing people out to drink and eat every night, like 1/3 of middle aged men have giant beer bellies. Doesn't seem to impact women so much.

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u/The_Swoley_Ghost Oct 06 '21

I've noticed a lot of "skinny-fat" bodytypes here in Korea, mostly among salarymen that are 40-60ish. They have stick-thin arms and legs and a spare tire around their waist. The 60+ crowd is rarely fat though probably because the food culture was a little different back then. There are definitely some fat kids here due to the "stay inside and play games" culture but most kids here are still thin.

I guess the middle-aged crowd has the "perfect" combination of being born at the time where they entered the work force right at the beginning of "modern" Korea (rapid economic boom in the last few decades) and being stifled by the Korean work culture of sitting in an office all day and then drinking/eating with your boss in a room salon all night.

The women here are often kicked out of their jobs after marriage and aren't really invited to go drinking with the boys anyway, so I think that helps them stay thin (that culture is super toxic anyway) .

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u/Baalsham Oct 06 '21

Kind of amazing how similar the culture is between the East Asian countries. I definitely feel bad for all the people trapped in that lifestyle.

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u/op_is_a_faglord Oct 06 '21

Although they have had hundreds of years of independence and conflict at times, their societies originated from the same roots and shared ideals (social/cultural norms like confucianism)

Like how many European cultures trace elements of cultural heritage back to Latin cultures/ Roman Empire, the ancient Chinese empires were equally influential, except it didn't collapse 2000 years ago - they have maintained a more proximate connection.

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u/I__LOVE__LSD Oct 06 '21

In NYC it was like every other person on the train was at least fat if not obese, it seemed.

It's funny you say that because I moved from Georgia to NYC and the first thing I noticed was how in shape and good looking everyone was here.

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u/rincon213 Oct 06 '21

It really depends where in NYC. Manhattan is going to be more image conscious, wealthy, and more likely to be walkable.

The Bronx has a lot of poor people who only have gas stations and fast food as calorie options.

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u/VinumVitae Oct 06 '21

Yeah I think NYC is pretty skinny compared to the rest of the country.

The problem with this graph is that it only shows the statistic for NYS as a whole. I bet if there was a separate percentage just for the city it would be noticeably higher.

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u/fsbbem Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

Korean who currently lives in NYC checking in. Obese elderly people are completely non existent in Korea. Hardley any obese boomers either. The younger the generations (X,Y Z) as we refer to them in the US, will have more heavy people, BUT even the heavier younger people are just "overweight" by US standards, not obese or morbidly obese. It's rare to see anyone in Korea carrying around more than 30 extra pounds and pretty much any morbidly obese person there will not be of Korean descent. However, with the boom of the economy and more processed/fast foods coming to market and gaining popularity, currently 1 in 4 young Korean boys (in the US they are gen alpha) are overweight. And that follows the same trend America saw when we started collectively gaining weight. Keep in mind, people didn't start getting fat in the us on any significant level until the 80s/90s....that's only 30 years ago. Weight gain first trended upward after ww ii ended. The economy swelled, stores started carrying pre packaged, processed options, and the creation of fast food chains coincided with the end of the war. Fast forward a few decades of spending increased incomes on crappy food, and America became blubbery. It's only continued to get worse since the 90s as you now have adults who have been raised their entire lives on junk.

As for nyc, when compared to Korea we're a city of whales. When compared to the rest of the nation, we're one of the fittest cities. 70% of people in nyc do not own a car meaning we rely on our feet and public transportation. If you want to be really horrified go to the midwest, the south, or disneyworld.

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u/thingalinga Oct 06 '21

Depends on which part of Asia. My anecdotal observation - so take it with a grain of salt. South Asia has a lot of overweight people, but obesity still seems rare.

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u/The_Swoley_Ghost Oct 06 '21

Yeah, I just looked up some quick statistics and apparently India and Malaysia have far more obesity than Asian countries up north such as South Korea or Japan. So, the data backs up your comment!

I didn't look up the overweight % vs the obese % in each country but usually if a country has a lot more obese individuals then it also has a lot more overweight individuals.

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u/dw444 Oct 06 '21

South Asian cultures view being fat differently to East Asian and western cultures. I’m not even kidding, when you get fat in South Asia, old ladies call you “healthy”.

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u/ManOfDiscovery Oct 06 '21

Old ladies do this in south east USA too

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u/highheatball Oct 06 '21

Currently in [not South East] Asia and when I see an obese person in public they REALLY stand out,

When I spent time in Asia, if we saw someone that obese, we would all look in shock. In the US we don't even give it a second look since it's so common.

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u/Data_Destroyer Oct 06 '21

That's the dream. Being fat is the natural response to the American environment (palm oil and high fructose corn syrup in all our food) but it's still really unattractive.

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u/Kiss_It_Goodbyeee Oct 06 '21

It's not just diet. It's also activity. Being less tied to the car would have huge health benefits.

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u/AaronfromKY Oct 06 '21

Being less tied to my desk would help too...

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u/why-you-online Oct 06 '21

Diet has a bigger impact than activity level when it comes to weight loss/gain.

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u/RedPanda5150 Oct 06 '21

This! When I lived in MA every town had a main street with shops and restaurants that you could walk to. I walked to work, walked to meet friends, walked to go to the grocery store. Then I moved to NC and everything here is built for cars. Only city centers have walkable neighborhoods. Most neighborhoods don't even have sidewalks. I have to drive to work, drive for groceries, hell I even have to drive to get to a park! Not surprisingly I'm also 20 pounds heavier than I used to be. Having the infrastructure for walkability makes a huge difference.

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u/only_eat_lentils Oct 06 '21

Every town in MA doesn't have a main street unless you mean only the towns immediately adjacent to Boston. Most suburbs don't have a main street especially outside 128. Massachusetts might be "less bad" than other states but it's still very much car centric.

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u/Normal-Highway2431 Oct 06 '21

Lived in the states for a while, I was actually appalled at how many ‘drive thru’ things could be done. Drive thru pharmacies, drive thru atm’s, drive thru grocery stores. It’s really no wonder y’all be fat as fuck over there.

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u/a_spicy_memeball Oct 06 '21

I live in the Midwest in a smaller farming and mining town. Nothing is accessible by anything but car and the only thing to do for entertainment is to eat.

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u/tismsia Oct 06 '21

And drink. Midwesterners, particularly those in the northern states, are the best at drinking.

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u/ThreeLeggedTranny Oct 06 '21

the only thing to do for entertainment is to eat

Only if you don't enjoy outdoor activities. I also live in a smaller Midwest farming community, and have no end of things to do for entertainment. I hunt, fish, hike, do archery, arrowhead/artifact hunt in the creeks, ride dirt bikes, ATV/UTVs, go boating, have bonfires, do property conservation, animal/bird watch, mushroom hunt, etc. I could go on and on. I absolutely love rural living and think it has much more to offer than a city, BUT you have to be into the things it offers.

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u/npatchett OC: 1 Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

Agree. If you were to depict "percent who are morbidly obese" - say BMI over 50 - I suspect the differences between states would become MUCH more dramatic. Colorado's BMI distribution has a lower mean weight, but I suspect the bell curve is probably narrower too and there are much fewer people at the upper extremes of weight.

BMI of 32 wouldn't make you look twice if you passed that person in the grocery store. BMI of 70 is a whole different story, but it's lumped into the same category of "obese."

Here is an interesting data visualization on how rates of severe obesity are diverging regionally, adapted from Ward et al. NEJM 2019. It breaks people down into groups of BMI <25, 25-30, 30-35, and >35 then shows which group is projected to be most prevalent in each state. The "stereotypical" American in most states will be overweight, but in the inland south they would be severely obese. There are projected to be NO states where BMI 30-35 is the most prevalent group.


EDIT: Various commenters have ignored the main point of this post (regional concentration of the super obese in America) and focused on arguing about whether a BMI of 32 is impressively fat or not. Here is a visualization of a male body at a BMI of 32. It's not fit and healthy by any means, but I stand by my assertion that this body type would not turn heads of any passers by. "Not shocking to passers by" is a rather low bar, and notably is not synonymous with me saying "stage 1 obesity is totally fine."

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u/Extreme-Boat-2767 Oct 06 '21

I also recently saw a graph that broke it down by BMI and racial groups, as some people posited all CO has was "white outdoorsy people". However, we do have a significant Hispanic population and yes, the BMI of Hispanics in CO was higher than that of whites but still lower than that of most other states.

Also, when you are responsible for turning the person every two hours as a nurse, you learnt the difference between 100kg, 150kg and 200kg plus real quickly. When my colleagues in CO would note, "Oh, this person is so big" with my experience in years in Philadelphia, to me they were nothing remarkable.

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u/MultipleDinosaurs Oct 06 '21

I was thinking the same thing. A few years ago, I moved to an area that’s (according to this map) only a few percentage points more overweight than where I grew up. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

People were on average a little chunky where I used to live, but you still saw a lot of people who looked to be in decent shape and morbid obesity was a rarity. It’s entirely different here. I would say that the average person is obese here and you frequently see morbidly obese people. I’ve gone from often being the heaviest person in a room to often being thinnest person in a room- even though I weigh more now.

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u/MonkeyInATopHat Oct 06 '21

I had the opposite experience. Moved from Philly to one of the deep red areas. Boy does the Midwest have some porkers. I blame the fact that there’s nothing to do here but eat and drink. Foods not even good out here.

Beers good though.

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u/nreshackleford Oct 06 '21

You also walk a lot less in the midwest than in the larger cities in the east.

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u/Fairelabise17 Oct 06 '21

Honestly I just have no appetite. I think it's the elevation mixed with the things to do. I don't have time to eat god damn it! And if I do it's at that new salad bar down the road!!! Healthier accessible choices make a huge difference.

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u/Mediocretes1 Oct 06 '21

Money is likely the biggest difference. Note that most of the states that have the least people with normal BMI are also some of the poorest. Or at least very low cost of living.

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u/Kiss_It_Goodbyeee Oct 06 '21

Yep. It's really interesting as 100 years ago obesity was a sign of wealth, now it's correlated with lower income.

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u/Topinio OC: 2 Oct 06 '21

It’s also true that obesity and fitness work as viscous and virtuous circles within a very local society - people copy when they see others exercising and eating smaller portions and healthier choices of foods, people also copy drinking, smoking, driving everywhere, eating massive portions, snacking all day and night etc.

People start local businesses that offer what their neighbours are buying, that might be mountain bikes or salads, or it might be mobility scooters or fried chicken.

Any national obesity strategy could do well to support those healthy businesses in counties with fewer overweight people and nearby counties. Probably not politically possible though.

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u/rhodesc Oct 06 '21

Fat is a viscous fluid when rendered.

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u/bmxtiger Oct 06 '21

I am Jack's utter lack of shock

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u/Extreme-Boat-2767 Oct 06 '21

Yes! This is true! I saw some studies recently that showed one person within a friend or family group who significantly changed their diet and exercise could have a significant positive effect on others in their small group.

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u/Cuppy5 Oct 06 '21

I live in Iowa, it’s true we’re fat. Every thing is dipped in ranch and fried.

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u/Counting_Sheepshead Oct 06 '21

I'm in Wisconsin and I thought for sure our two states numbers would be closer cause the diet here isn't great either.

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u/SomebodyHelpMePles Oct 06 '21 Helpful

Hi from Mississippi!

Yes, we’re still here sucking at everything

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u/toucanfrog Oct 06 '21

And sucking down everything...

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u/Xabrewulf Oct 06 '21

"Thank God for Mississippi!"

-Alabama

(For anyone who isn't from that area, it's literally a saying there implying at least Alabama looks good by comparison to Mississippi by practically every measure even though they still suck at everything too.)

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u/tatanka01 Oct 06 '21

Alabama is the only place where you would have to explain that line.

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u/LaggardLenny Oct 06 '21

You're forgetting about Mississippi.

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u/platzie Oct 06 '21

To be fair, I was just in MS 2 weeks ago and after eating my way through the Delta I get why the numbers are high. I want Hoppin' John injected straight into my bloodstream.

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u/Bigtreees Oct 06 '21

We need an equivalent to the “freshman 15” but for the south.

I worked with a girl that moved from up north to here in the south and she spent the first year or so talking nonstop about how amazing all of the food was. After that first year, she started talking about all the weight she had gained. It’s easy to be overweight when all the food is good.

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u/WeatherStruck Oct 06 '21

Id like to know Masachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware and Vermont's percentages

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u/NickOutside OC: 1 Oct 06 '21

Masachusetts - 37.1%
Rhode Island - 33.2%
Delaware - 27.7%
Vermont - 35.5%

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u/arthurdentdenmark Oct 06 '21

This looks absolutely insane! I had to check for the EU. In 2019 45% were normal weight according to Eurostat. Still an overweight of overweight people (53%), but a bit better. Scary stuff!

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u/Topinio OC: 2 Oct 06 '21

Might be a bit better now that the UK has thrown itself out, here it’s 64% overweight (68% of men, 60% of women)!

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u/CondorLane Oct 06 '21

I grew up in the UK and our relationship with health is some of the worst I've ever encountered. In the US it's copious amounts of fat and sugar, in the UK it's similar but it's just in the form of beer. Though I will say that British people don't seem to reach quite the same size as some Americans do, the amount of money our health service wastes on alcohol related disease is enormous.

I moved to Canada and I've never felt more out of shape in my life, the number of people who work out and eat well here puts the UK to shame.

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u/ApplyDirectlyToPenis Oct 06 '21

The British don't have near the same zeal for children and teen sports that Americans do either. Organized sports and sports funding in general is one thing I think America does right. Admittedly the weather is probably a big factor but still

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u/NickOutside OC: 1 Oct 06 '21

Source: CDC 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey

Created with Tableau Public

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u/Techiedad91 Oct 06 '21

My only issue here is the green states appear to still have 60% of the population overweight. I feel like green means it’s good but none of these numbers are truly good

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u/tomorrowmightbbetter Oct 06 '21

The CDC guide is too prominent and looks like the key. It also includes one colored category but the rest are not.

BMI to 99.8 is just over the top and distracting.

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u/NickOutside OC: 1 Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

All great points.

I colored the "Normal Weight 18.5-24.9" in the hope it would emphasize that it was the only data being displayed with the other ranges listed for context.

I debated listing 30 - 99.8 or just 30+ but decided on the former as that's how the CDC data listed it.

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u/ittybittycitykitty OC: 3 Oct 06 '21

Tough choices.

I got 'green is good, red is bad' pretty quick.

But then sorting out what the numbers meant took a little effort.

Still, a nice graphic. Thanks!

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u/brother_rebus Oct 06 '21

The labeling for new england is a mess

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u/oncore2011 Oct 06 '21

I took a S Korean client to a steakhouse in Houston. He could not believe the size of people. I’d say the AVERAGE weight was 300lbs. We sat next to a family w teenage kids that were also over 200lbs each.

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u/maggiesyg Oct 06 '21

The color changes are a tad dramatic for relatively small changes and three colors aren’t really justified. More shades of from pale yellow to orange would communicate better

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u/NickOutside OC: 1 Oct 06 '21

Thanks for the input. This was the first visualization I've made; I'll be sure to try and consider the color scheme more carefully next time.

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u/indign Oct 06 '21

colorcet.com is a one resource to learn about good color map practices if you're interested in learning. Some really good color maps that might be bundled with software you use include plasma, magma, and viridis.

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u/ImprovedPersonality Oct 06 '21

The purpose of the diagram is to show differences. If it were just shades of orange with very pale orange at 0% and bright orange for 100% the differences would be almost impossible to see.

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u/OnyxPhoenix Oct 06 '21

Most complaints on this sub are "I can barely distinguish the colours"

Yet when a broad scale is used, you say it's too big a colour change to match the data?

You should always use the widest range you can to present the data in the clearest way possible.

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u/medosin Oct 06 '21

I'm a chubby Coloradoan. I lived in the south briefly and I was model thin in comparison. I was shook by just how big people were, comparatively.

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u/Nataface Oct 06 '21

Similar experience in CA—had a resident from the south comment that my fiancé, who is just barely in the obese category, was a “skinny boy”. She was pretty obese—but she had lost 100lbs before she moved here!

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u/bracorke Oct 06 '21

everyone praising Colorado in the comments and forget about slim Hawai'i to the side!

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u/DabberChase Oct 06 '21

I’m colorblind… Fuck me right?!?

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u/TigerRumMonkey Oct 06 '21

Be interesting to see if any correlation or relationships to food security

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u/Extreme-Boat-2767 Oct 06 '21

Oh, good point. Would like to see that

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u/RoeRoeRoeYourVote Oct 06 '21

There are definitely many factors! My first thoughts were about the prevalence of car culture (commuting only by car instead of public transit/biking/walking combo) and availability of outdoor recreation. Although, I have literally no idea how to demonstrate if there is or isn't a link.

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u/trogon Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

Orange County has a 20% obesity rate and is 100% car culture.

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u/RoeRoeRoeYourVote Oct 06 '21

And that's why I'm mildly curious about it. Anecdotally, I've found that moving to a city that was less car dependent has been great for my health. My daily steps went from ~2000-5000 to ~9000-12000 due to not relying on a car as my primary mode of transportation. I wanted to know the extent to which others experienced the same.

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u/fuccTHEsucc Oct 06 '21

Damn that’s a lot of bodybuilders

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u/MulhollandMaster121 Oct 06 '21

I do love how any time BMI comes up people fall over themselves to bring that argument forth in earnest.

Like, no, the outliers who have a high BMI due to well, well above average muscle mass are not statistically relevant enough to change the definition or validity of BMI.

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u/czarczm Oct 06 '21

I feel like people who do legitimately fall into that category will never try to talk down BMI, because they know they're an outlier

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u/MulhollandMaster121 Oct 06 '21

And the ones who do greatly under-estimate their caloric intake and over-estimate their activity levels.

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u/czarczm Oct 06 '21

A lot of the underestimating calories I feel like comes from people not understanding what proper nutrition looks like. It's really weird what people consider to be a "normal meal". I've met so many people in my age group who eat nothing but frozen fried foods (pizza poppers, chicken tenders, etc.) they plop it into an air fryer and call that "cooking" and they act like it's so strange and foreign to actually cook raw ingredients or to eat vegetables (it's insane sometimes to see people's reaction when they see you eating broccoli).

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u/sack_of_potahtoes Oct 06 '21

I have seen this with some people online only. It seemed strange to see someone eat only junk food and think its nutritious food.

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u/czarczm Oct 06 '21

Like that guy a few weeks back who posted his groceries and it was literally nothing but children's snacks and Gatorade.

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u/DickweedMcGee Oct 06 '21

Please show me what 99.8 BMI looks like....

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u/jeylociraptor Oct 06 '21

Look up Amberlynn Reid on YouTube No snark, just facts: she’s 5’3” and her last weigh in was 520 lbs. and her alleged highest weight is 570 lbs. which is a 100.96 BMI

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u/-M-o-X- Oct 06 '21

There’s a whole reality show that parades them around and tries to slim them up

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u/gibby377 Oct 06 '21

If Peter Dinklage weighed 400 lbs

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u/commander_nice Oct 06 '21

Mr Creosote

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u/Jottor Oct 06 '21

It's wafer thin......

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u/Gemmabeta Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

For a male American of average height (175.4 cm or 5 feet 9), that would work out to a weight of 307 kg (677 lb)

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u/Tuelegend Oct 06 '21

Bible Belt needs a larger belt

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u/AxelNotRose Oct 06 '21

Some states are missing their percentages. Was it a map real estate issue?

Also, having two different "legends" is confusing. I'd have place the colour coded spectrum on the right side below the BMI Ranges indicator and I'd have made it a bit bigger than the BMI Range (make the BMI Range a tad smaller). The BMI Range is only there for informational purposes. It's not part of the actual map/stats you're showing. The title in green is also not a great choice. It's not popping out enough to explain what you're showing. I'd have made it black and a little bigger.

But that's just me.

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u/JD_SLICK Oct 06 '21

It's always fascinating, and somewhat misleading, how well Hawaii does in these sorts of things.

There are communities here who would be nearly 100% overweight or obese in BMI (non-native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders- Micronesians, Samoans, Tongans, etc), and other communities where just about everyone is pretty svelte.

The Non-Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander community at one point was the hardest hit demographic in the United States with COVID. Before we had vaccines they saw 25% of the state's COVID deaths despite only making up 4% of the state's population. (source)

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u/littlegreyflowerhelp Oct 06 '21

You may not have a good answer to this, but it seems you know what you're talking about so may as well ask: do you know why non-native Hawaiian pacific islanders are more likely to be overweight than native Hawaiians? Is it a cultural difference ie different staple foods, or are there quite distinct socio-economic differences between the two groups?

I'm not American so probably can't comment, but I got the impression that culturally, Hawaiians were quite similar to Samoans, Tongans etc. so I'd imagine their diet and such would be similar.

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u/sorrylilsis Oct 06 '21

There was a genetic hypothesis but it seem to have been disproved in recent years.

The answer seems to be sadly mundane : the replacement of all traditional foods by calorie dense western ones plus a lack of exercise.

Add to that populations that are often poor and poorly educated and you have a perfect storm in your hands.

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u/Man_as_Idea Oct 06 '21

So even in our “healthiest” states 60%+ are overweight? That’s appalling

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u/animaguscat Oct 06 '21

isn’t it technically 60% non-normal weight? so that can include underweight

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u/ncocca Oct 06 '21

Indeed, but that's a small number -- under 2% according the source below

"Poor nutrition or underlying health conditions in adults can result in underweight. Results from the 2011–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), using measured heights and weights, indicate that an estimated 1.7% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over are underweight."

I'm a 5' 5" male weighing 135 -- normal range. I'd have to lose 25 lbs to drop to underweight. I haven't been 110lb since like 8th grade, and graduated high school at 125lbs looking like a stick. Basically, it's pretty difficult to be underweight unless you have some sort of condition or disease.

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u/Alightsole OC: 1 Oct 06 '21

Fun fact:

Colorado (the current skinniest state) in 2021 is fatter than Alabama (the fattest state) was in 1990

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u/alexmijowastaken OC: 8 Oct 06 '21

USA is too fat, it makes me sad

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u/d00g Oct 06 '21

Does this mean that at least 60 of the population in the best state (Hawaii) is overweight? This data is not so beautiful. What are the figures for RI, MA, and VT?

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u/thenewmeredith Oct 06 '21

A nice start to the day as I'm now weirdly proud of our state. Also funny enough that it's one of the best weight ones but we call it Mass for short

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u/whodo-i-thinkiam Oct 06 '21

The poorer the state, the higher the BMI.

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u/InvestInHappiness Oct 06 '21

America must have a lot of bodybuilders.

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u/WidespreadPaneth Oct 06 '21

We're all just cultivating mass.

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u/churadley Oct 06 '21

We're just cultivating mass on that 12 months a year bulk cycle.

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u/dwew3 Oct 06 '21

Some of these other comments appear to sincerely believe that.

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u/TheSpanxxx Oct 06 '21

Let's not celebrate 38% too much.

There isn't a single state where half the people live inside a healthy weight range.

Weight is our epidemic. We too damn fat.

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u/JBBanshee Oct 06 '21

Colorado all fucking healthy. Lotta hikers in them there hills!

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u/IMI4tth3w Oct 06 '21

I was at the zoo this weekend with my family. I started looking around. Every single adult I saw I was very overweight or obese. Every single one. It was pretty sad honestly.

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u/Arya_19 Oct 06 '21

It really is sad that the majority of every damn state is unhealthy. I know bmi isn’t a perfect measurement, but still it shows the general trend. We really are shaping our future with all our wealth. There is no survival of the fittest. We just create meds, do procedures, or use devices and just live (unhealthily). It reminds me of Wally.

And even worse is that the poor are almost suffering from our decisions to support junk food as they appear to be the only affordable and easily available food available to them. Our marketing glorification of the junk is supported by our wallets and positive response and feedback. It makes it worse. Us middle and rich made the poor suffer. Please tell me I made an error and am wrong because I feel terrible.

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u/Narrow-Profession-99 Oct 06 '21

Slim Democrats and Fat Republicans

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u/Vexonar Oct 06 '21

Colourblind (greens/reds): Shite, we're all fat!!!

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u/ReplacementRough5190 Oct 06 '21 edited Oct 06 '21

Even the very best state is 60% overweight… so, you’re not really wrong!

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u/violet_terrapin Oct 06 '21

Oh gee I’m shocked that the states that have some of the highest cost of living (meaning more well off people live there) have the lowest rates of obesity.

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