Chart of the Day: Midwestern Obesity Rates over Time

Here’s a bit of encouraging news, at least if you happen to live in Minnesota. According to the CDC, Minnesota is alone in the upper midwest in keeping obesity in check. Here’s the chart, via MN Dept of Health:


Why are we bucking the trend?

In 2013, approximately 18,600 Minnesotans covered by state health care programs moved from overweight to a healthy weight. There is an estimated annual savings of as much as $9 million to state taxpayers due to this change to healthy weight alone.

“Obesity is a complex condition with many contributing factors. We know diet and exercise are key, and I am confident that Minnesota’s success is closely tied to investments by the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and its community and private sector partners to increase Minnesotans opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger.

Walking begins at home, folks.

6 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Midwestern Obesity Rates over Time

  1. Eric AnondsonEric Anondson

    Hmm. Seems like statistical shenanigans… What this a survey? A diet log? Self measure? All notoriously unreliable for a host of reasons.

    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      Sounds like phone surveys:

      “The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the nation’s premier system of health-related telephone surveys that collect state data about U.S. residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Established in 1984 with 15 states, BRFSS now collects data in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories. BRFSS completes more than 400,000 adult interviews each year, making it the largest continuously conducted health survey system in the world.”

      Maybe Minnesotan’s just lie about their weight more?

      1. Eric AnondsonEric Anondson

        I’m mildly interested if the surveys were the same questions in each state, or if Wisconsin, ND, SD, MN all had identical surveys.

        I know regional differences in honesty to some surveys have been found on these obesity studies. Surveys where people were asked to keep a log and to answer what they remembered eating vs. actual measurements by professionals found, for instance, people in the upper Midwest were likely to tell the survey what they thought the survey was wanting to find out, and southerners were more honest about the garbage they ate.

        We don’t have many good options for health research other than terrible surveys or logs that find “links”, “associations”, or “correlations”. Always gets me the squint eyes. 😉

        In 2012 I lost 40 lbs when I changed my diet, and kept it off! Possibly there is a regional change in food preference, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark I read had a recent change toward high far and low carb preferences going as far as to cause nation wide butter shortages. Possibly our major media market has had an influence. Possibly we’ve had a change in our market to eating more local seasonal and/or whole foods and less industrially produced food than other markets.

        But then when I see people at the State Fair, I question that Minnesota has made any progress on the fight against Diabesity. 😉

  2. Amber D

    Minnesota does fund prevention differently than our neighbors. We have the statewide health improvement program (SHIP) that supports local public health in increasing access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities.

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