(Heather Martino wrote this article.)
America’s epidemic of fatness extends all the way to Shakopee the rest of Scott County, with obesity rates at 35 percent for men 2011. Using the map above, you can see the rate was at 26.4 percent in 2001, making for 8.6 percent increase in 10 years.
In Minnesota as a whole, obesity in men increased less than in Scott County, with a 7.3 percentage point increase during the same time period.
Compared to neighboring Dakota County, Scott County men are slightly bigger and gaining weight at a faster rate. Obesity in Dakota County men was at 34.7 in 2011, an increase of 7.7 from 2001. Compared to other states, men in both counties are above the national average of 33.8 percent.
In 2011, obesity prevalence for both genders in the U.S. ranged from 20.7% in Colorado to 34.9% in Mississippi, according to the CDC. The county figures on the map were obtained from a recent study from the University of Washington, which found that nationwide women are more obese than their male counterparts.
But men and women aren’t gaining weight at the same rate: While Scott County men reported a 8.6 percent increase, women’s obesity rates rose just 5.6 percent between 2001 and 2011. The percentage of obese women came in below that of their male counterparts in 2011, landing at 31.6.
According to the CDC, obesity affects more than one-third of adults, or 35.7 percent of the population in the United States. Obesity is calculated by measuring a person’s height and weight, and deriving at a ratio called the body mass index, or BMI. This number often correlates to an individual’s amount of body fat, and is used to ascertain whether a person is considered underweight, a normal weight, overweight or obese.
Obese individuals have a 50-100% increased risk of premature death, and it’s estimated that obesity may be the cause of 300,000 deaths per year according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Interestingly, Americans claim to be exercising more during the same time period that obesity climbed. “Around the country, you can see huge increases in the percentage of people becoming physically active, which research tells us is certain to have health benefits,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray in a press release. Murray added that “If communities in the US can replicate this success and tackle the ongoing obesity impact, it will see more substantial health gains.”
The good news is that there may be silver lining to America’s fat epidemic. While we’re still getting fatter, at least it’s happening at a slower rate than in past years. And if this rate continues to drop, Shakopee may soon be reporting slimmer, healthier residents.