Obesity Rates Decline In Four States – Sort Of

When Time reported that four states had declining obesity rates (Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Montana) and this is the first time this has happened  – is it time to celebrate?

Not really. Obesity rates hit a small statistical blip in those states. Take a look at the chart with Arizona highlighted.  There is a small blip from 28% down a bit.  Is this enough to get excited about? No.  The overall rate of obesity in the state of Arizona is more than doubled in the last 20 years.

Arizona Obesity

The blip seen in other states that are considered “significant” are like Minnesota:


So what might account for this blip?
Probably nothing. If you examine the graph for Minnesota there was a mild trend up and now that trend may have been from how the data was recorded. Overall the trend is still mildly flat there, but overall going up.  And the rise in obesity is still large.

What is tragic is that the overall rate of weight loss surgery, the only cure for obesity, is stable or slightly down since 2009.  The impact of weight loss surgery on a large population would dramatically decrease obesity rates, future rates of diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and strokes and prolong lifespan.

In all data you see the residual effect of the push for weight loss surgery up to the great recession -in particular the rise of the Lap-Band. That trend lasted, however since the numbers of patients receiving surgery has dramatically declined the continual rise of obesity has resumed.

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.

Share this article on social media!