Rampant Hunger

I heard about the survey mentioned in this article on Friday, when NPR was talking about it (can't find a link to that). For those not reading, and I'd recommend it, it was a survey that, among other things, asked people whether they had had to give up food to pay for other things in the last year.

The disturbing part is that 18% (remember, this is in a country that makes more than enough to feed everyone) of respondents had done so.

NPR didn't talk about it all that much, just generally saying that the south was worst (largest percentage of people who had to sacrifice food for something else in the last twelve months). But what hit me when they mentioned the worst states (other than Delaware) was that they were mentioning the states with the worst obesity rates.

So I'm left wondering how strong the correlation is. I can certainly see a way for there to be a correlation, even though it seems ridiculous at first glance; those most likely to run out of money spend the largest percentage of their budget on fast food and processed food. And those certainly correlate pretty strongly with obesity.

I did a bit more digging, and found that the CDC has some information about adult obesity, and it shows a pretty heavy correlation. Certainly not perfect, but the shapes are very similar. And, man, that's scary that twelve states had >= 30% obesity in 2010. Perhaps even scarier that every single state was over 20% (Colorado was lowest at 21.0%, DC next at 22.2%). Wow.

Geeze... Doing more thinking about that data. So, in sixteen years, the US has gone from the worst state in the nation having less than 20% obesity, to every state being over that, and the worst being 34.0%. Yikes. And yes, hunger is still a problem. Double yikes.

It would be interesting to have aggregate data from grocery stores and restaurants (probably restricting just to chains, for several practical reasons), what kind of foods people are eating, and how that correlates with aggregated health data.  I'd be willing to bet that it wouldn't look good for certain kinds of processed food and certain restaurants.

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