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Mon Mar 18, 2013, 01:16 PM

The Connection Between Obesity and Poverty [View all]

A new report finds shows that Americans are getting fatter and notes worse rates among those with low incomes, but some states don’t exactly fit the pattern.

Our colleague Katherine Hobson on the Health Blog points to a study from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that looks at the increase in obesity rates across the U.S.

The report notes higher obesity rates nationally among low-income adults. “More than 33% of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year were obese, compared with 24.6% of those who earn at least $50,000 per year,” the authors state.

Comparing poverty rates in the U.S. with obesity rates, a pretty strong correlation emerges. Check out this map on poverty rates from the Census Bureau and look at this map on obesity rates, where you can see a lot of overlap. For example, Mississippi has both the highest poverty rate and the highest obesity rate in the country.

But as the report notes, there isn’t just one factor leading to increases in obesity, as some states clearly buck the trend. Maryland has the second-lowest poverty rate in the country, but is near the national average for obesity.

On the other side of the coin, New Mexico has the third-highest poverty rate in the U.S., but has a below average rate of obesity. New York has a higher than average poverty rate, but is among the 10 lowest states in obesity.


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MindMover Mar 2013 OP
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