Obesity rates in TX

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

According to the recent data from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, a significant proportion of the most obese cities in the country are found in Texas. The obesity rate is in excess of 40 percent in some places here.

That’s not news – Eli Saslow of The Washington post already presented an in-depth look at the reasons behind this epidemic.

Today we will take a more data-oriented approach. We’ll base our approach on the Body Mass Index. While this index has its (universally accepted) flaws, it should still be acceptable for statistical analysis – in fact, it was designed with this usage scenario in mind.

Here’s the map, based on the latest available county-level dataset. The thresholds we are using are fairly common – persons with a BMI from 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, and values higher than 30 suggest obesity. A BMI of less than 18.5 is considered underweight.

Overweight & obese population by MSA

As you can see, the concentration of cities on the red end of the scale is especially high in Southern Texas.

Which factors contribute to the incidence rate? An obvious major factor to examine is income level. On the national scale, people living in higher-income households are significantly less likely to be overweight. This relationship is especially strong for women, but it is statistically significant for men, too.

Still, there's something interesting happening in Texas.

Obesity rate in Texas by income


As you can see on the chart above, the tendencies are different for men and women. There seems to be a relatively flat upward bias for men. Women in Texas, on the other hand, show an even more significant slope - which means an especially strong relationship between income levels and obesity rates.


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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

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3 thoughts on “Obesity rates in TX”

  1. Andrey,

    It appears that all Texas counties have the exact same data for the 3 metrics. Maybe I’m mistaken but I don’t think so.

    1. Hi, John! Indeed, there was an error in the tooltip – it is fixed now. Thanks for noticing!

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