San Antonio’s overall obesity rates have dropped in recent years
. Once consistently named among the country’s most obese cities, the most recent reports indicate that less than 30 percent of San Antonians are obese — still greater than the national average, but moving in the right direction.
The improvement doesn't tell the whole story though. There’s a strong link between obesity, a disorder that afflicts people whose body mass index is 30 or higher, and factors such as race and income level. Minorities and the poor are much more likely to be obese than other members of the population.
Those facts are visualized by RTI International
, a research institute which mapped obesity
using data from the 2010 U.S. Census and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The map matches up demographic variables from the two data sets, such as age, race, gender and educational attainment.
The result is a geographic representation of where obese people live throughout the country. The dots on the map represent an aggregate BMI for all the people who live in that spot. The darker the color, the higher the BMI.
Here’s the map for San Antonio:
From this perspective, it's clear that the map becomes darker and redder, indicating more obesity, as you move south from the northern suburbs.
Here's a more detailed look at the city's urban core inside Loop 410:
The map of San Antonio is particularly striking when you compare to other major cities in Texas. Here's Austin:
You can play around with the map here