Maps of diabetes & obesity

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Hope readers have a happy Thanksgiving. I assume this is also a day when you’re not going to think too much about your diet and eat what you want to eat. But I thought this map on diabetes and obesity for those age 20 and up was interesting. These are estimates, which I think explains the rather sharp boundaries at state lines (since state level data was probably used to predict county values, see the methods here). To my knowledge the cuisine of the Upper Midwest and New England gets about as much props as that of England (vs. “Southern home cooking”), but hotdish can’t be all that unhealthy? :-) H/T Ezra Klein.

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11 Comments

  1. Just wow……great information in those maps. Thanks for this. My area of the country has a great deal of “diabesity”. One sees quite a few women with pretty faces that are 30 lbs or more overweight. Its a sad thing, but there is a lot of it down here. A picture (or statistical map) really is worth many words. Those put the whole issue in a clear perspective.

  2. I do not see this as a useful insight into regional cuisines unless adjusted for race. The races do not have equal risks of diabetes.

  3. Yeah… you can see that the seeming outliers in South Dakota and around four corners are due to the Indian reservations. 
    Other thing is even after adjusting for broad racial categories you could still have a situation where the Scots-Irish are somehow less adapted to the modern American diet than other European lineages.

  4. I think the darker areas tend to overlap with what some doctors call the kidney stone belt.

  5. Colorado is impressive. 
     
    The third map should be color-coded differently. Completely non-intuitive.

  6. @bbartlog 
     
    “situation where the Scots-Irish are somehow less adapted to the modern American diet than other European lineages.” 
     
    Not that surprising given that Irish people have much higher rates of coeliac disease.

  7. I do not see this as a useful insight into regional cuisines unless adjusted for race.  
     
    you really should look at a map of the distribution of non-hispanic whites then. you’d have noted the white variance immediately if you were aware of the distribution. (though my comment was mostly a joke, i suspect minnesota is just less shitty overall than west virginia) but i’ve posted on non-hispanic white morbidity by county before too, the interregional variance is as you would expect and reflects this map. 
     
    (in fact, if i had the same question as you, i’d have immediately looked at that map before i posted a comment)

  8. Other thing is even after adjusting for broad racial categories you could still have a situation where the Scots-Irish are somehow less adapted to the modern American diet than other European lineages. 
     
    there is an intra-appalachian difference. the data show that the east part of the appalachians are less less diabetic and obese than the west.

  9. Is it possible that the farther west the early inhabitants of the appalachians went, the more likely they were to breed with native americans?

  10. Kansas and Colorado are an interesting contrast. There is no blending between neighboring border counties for either diabetes or obesity. Does this suggest some important state-level policy difference? The large health difference looks as artificial as the straight border between the two states. 
     
    To a lesser extent there is a similar state-level obesity divide running down the center, with Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico one side, and Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, and the Dakotas on the other. Texas is intermediate

  11. The dark spots in Arizona are the Navajo rez. Sad that a once healthy people have fallen to first firewater, and now HFCS and the white stuff… sugar.

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