Obesity by county: an interactive map for the holiday season

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Perhaps in honor of the holiday, aka eating season, Patch.com re-published an interactive map showing obesity rates by Minnesota county. The map compares obesity rates in 2001 and 2011.

The rate of obesity grew in every county, but Ramsey and Benton counties showed the lowest rate of growth in obesity over the decade. Some counties in southwestern and southern Minnesota grew the most.

The data, which come from a study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control, show people nationwide gaining weight in the last decade. Rates ranged from 20.7 percent in Colorado to 34.9 percent in Mississippi, with women more likely than men to be overweight. Minnesota was in the middle of the pack, with an adult obesity rate of 25.7 percent.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation collects data on county rankings nationally. You can find 2013 Minnesota data on adult obesity on its interactive map. The County Health Rankings site lets you sort by other health indicators too, such as physical environment and access to health care.

The U.S. Surgeon General's website says obesity may be responsible for an estimated 300,00 deaths a year. It is linked to higher rates of illness, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The silver lining in the data may be the decrease in obesity rates among young children living in poverty, according to the New York Times. Minnesota was among 19 states where those rates declined, reversing a decades-long trend.

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