Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wisconsin: Fair Health Despite the Cheese

Best known for its delicious cheese, Wisconsin is fairly neutral when it comes to obesity statistics. Wisconsin residents are no healthier than Americans on average, but they are not significantly less healthy either. In fact, Wisconsin ranks 24th out of the 50 states for obesity, 37th for diabetes, and 32nd for hypertension. These numbers indicate that the dairy state has a ways to go in terms of overall wellness, but they haven’t hit the all time health lows of Mississippi, Texas, and Tennessee.

As we near the end of these nation-wide obesity blog posts (Wyoming is the last state!), there have been some noteworthy discrepancies. For example, one might assume that residents from the “cheese capital of America” might have sky high cholesterol and equally high obesity rates; however it’s the Southerners, with their warm climate and seemingly endless opportunities for physical activity, that far outweigh the Northerners. Why is this? Although there are certainly numerous factors at play (race, socioeconomic status, etc.), it is still difficult to pin down exactly why Mississippi is the fattest state while Illinois, Wisconsin, and others hover somewhere in the middle.

Currently, Wisconsin promotes Healthiest Wisconsin 2020: Everyone Living Better, Longer. This initiative represents the third decade of statewide community health improvement designed to benefit the health of everyone in Wisconsin. Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 declares the bold vision: Everyone Living Better, Longer, which reflects the plan’s goals to eliminate health disparities, improve health across the life span, and achieve health equity. The plan’s mission is to assure conditions in which people can be healthy, and members of healthy, safe, and resilient families and communities.


Anonymous said...

Are there any studies that have been done to explain the discrepencies in weight/rates of obesity between states?

Juliet Rodman said...


This links to an AOL article discussing the socioeconomic and cultural factors behind obesity. Factors such as poverty, access to sidewalks and walking paths, and availability of nutritious food options can all affect state-wide obesity rates.