United States vs. Canada: Which has the lower obesity rate?

March 4, 2011

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compares obesity rates in the United States and Canada. The Associated Press reports that this is the first time the CDC has compared American obesity rates with another country.

The data, which was gathered between 2007 and 2009, reveals that approximately 24.1 percent of Canadians are obese compared to 34.4 percent of Americans.

The numbers were also broken down by ethnicity and gender, showing that 27 percent of Canadian men are considered obese compared to 33 percent of American men. The difference is even greater among women, 24 percent of Canadian women versus 36 percent of American women, NPR reports.

According to the AP, there was interestingly not a statistically significant difference in childhood obesity rates in Canada (12%) and the United States (15.5%).

Some other key findings of the report include:

  • Among the non-Hispanic white population, the prevalence of obesity is lower in Canada than in the United States, but the difference is not as large as it is when comparing the entire populations.
  • Between the late 1980s and 2007–2009, the prevalence of obesity increased in both Canada and the United States.
  • In 2007–2009, the prevalence of obesity among young and middle-aged Canadian women was similar to that observed in U.S. women 20 years earlier.

The full report can be found here.

Smart returns on big government

October 6, 2010

Do you live in one of America’s “smartest” cities? Thanks to The Census Bureau, you can find out. According to newly released data, Washington D.C. is the metro area with the highest percentage of residents with college degrees. The city has 47.3 percent of people age 25 and over with a bachelor’s, master’s, professional school or doctorate degree.

This shouldn’t come as much of a shock according to John Schmidt, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He tells CNN Money:

“There’s a very high share of federal government employees here…and people dealing with the federal government, including defense contractors, lobbyists, businesses that want to influence the regulatory process; there’s lots of lawyers.”

Salaries in these cities also tend to be above average. CNN reports that D.C. has the highest median household income of any metro area with over one million residents.

Coming in second place is San Francisco, CA with 43.5 percent, followed by San Jose, CA with 43.2 percent, Raleigh, NC with 42.2 percent, and Boston, MA also with 42.2 percent.

Rounding out the bottom of the list is Memphis, TN with 24.2 percent, just below the national average (25%). Las Vegas, NV follows Memphis with 21.5 percent and coming in at the bottom of the list is Riverside, CA with 19.2 percent.

To see the rest of the top ten and bottom ten, click here.

When Americans think of Europe, they’re not thinking of Bolton

January 21, 2010

Clive Crook, FT and National Journal columnist has a great essay on the problem of measuring whether Europe is superior to the U.S., or vice versa. One of the problems in this game, which pits the American right against the left, is that, frankly, it’s easy to romance Paris and Milan, and ignore Crook’s birthplace, Bolton, in Lancashire, England. It’s also easy to conflate the bejeweled cities with the entire realm: but Paris with France and France with Europe. As Crook writes:

“‘Europe’ is a dangerous generalization, whichever side in this discussion you intend to take. It is not one country, but many. You cannot even say exactly how many, because the region is a fluctuating idea that depends on your notions of geography and the period under consideration. Within Europe — as within the United States — there are rich areas and poor areas; places that are growing and places in decline. And within Europe, political borders still matter a lot. Forms of government and economic arrangements — levels of taxation and public spending, the role of trade unions, the scope of economic regulation — all vary.”

It seems more sensible, given such variation, to measure on the level of the state; so where, then, does France rank? It would be unfair to spoil the result by stealing the punchline, so here’s the link.


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