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Forget Red, Blue and Pink States! Go Green!

Courtesy of Strange Maps, I have a chance just one week before we elect a new president of the United States to look at a very different kind of map so that my eyes don’t bug out over staring at electoral maps and electronic “whiteboards” with every shade of state from red to pink to mauve to navy blue.

Instead, Strange Maps brings us what I will affectionately call “the Fat Map”. This map ranks by percentage of population that is obese. Unlike these 2008 election maps, this one is filled with brown states (which must represent the color of their people’s almost cardiac arresting hearts), orange states (where clearly these citizens should be eating more actual oranges and less Cheetos), the peach states (slightly better off, but they should lighten up on the red meat), the light green states (where they go light on the greens), and the bright green state (that would be Colorado, where despite the abundance of breweries, they still turn out to be the leanest in the nation).


On this map, there is one red state—Mississippi, with almost 1 in every 3 citizens who are obese. Why Mississippi? We don’t know. Strange Maps gives no real analysis of this data (and certainly my commentary above is not even an attempt to understand). Could it be diet, exercise, culture, or some combination of these?

Clearly the message to the red, brown, and orange states isn’t to mimic Colorado and flood the state will giant breweries and resort towns. However, if outdoor exercise could be arranged, and even if it doesn’t involve the Rockies–that might be a ticket to less fat and better overall health.

Just a guess. But Mississippi–don’t get rid of all that fried catfish and hushpuppies–a state of any color can afford that in moderation.

Summer Johnson, PhD

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