Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Neighborhood Obesity Maps for Entire United States

RTI International  is one of the world’s leading research institutes, dedicated to improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice. To that end they recently released what they have referred to as their "Neighborhood Map of U.S. Obesity".

Obesity is not evenly distributed across the United States. From sources such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), data show that the proportion of the population that is obese various across states and counties. And although obesity is a national problem, many of the policies and interventions that would be most valuable in reducing obesity occur at the community or neighborhood level.

Unfortunately, high-resolution maps of obesity at the community level do not exist. Without such maps, it is hard to know where the most at-risk populations are, or where to target outreach, interventions, and community health activities to use resources most efficiently.

This information gap—high resolution, community level maps and geographic data on obesity—is what RTI has tried to fill. So they constructed a highly detailed map (and associated GIS database) of obesity across the United States. They call this the Neighborhood Map of U.S. Obesity. The U.S. Obesity Map was created entirely from public, government data sources.

Below is a screen shot of the southern part of Herkimer County and it's obesity ranges. Blues indicate low levels of obesity, whereas reds indicate higher rates of obesity. Click the map to enlarge it, or visit the website and track down your neighborhood obesity rates.