Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Healthy Virginia?

From the Center for Disease Control's upliftingly entitled "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" are maps showing the prevalence of obesity and diabetes across the country for 2007. The "Estimated County-Level Prevalence of Diabetes and Obesity - United States, 2007" shows how the South appears to have some of the highest levels in the country. The statistics are estimates for the year 2007 – based on surveys, census figures and other information for that and other years – and include a margin of error. The nation-wide maps show that the deep south and Appalachia have the highest rates of diabetes, of which Type 2 is usually correlated with obesity. Experts say possible explanations include a diet of fatty, unhealthy foods, little exercise, genetics, and perhaps income and education – people living in poor communities may not have the money to eat healthier, more expensive foods or may not have access to gyms or outdoor recreational trails. The Virginia map of diabetes is also interesting. Given that these maps are based upon estimates and statistics, they should be taken with a grain of salt. Or perhaps not.

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