Will education rescue you from being Obese?

Author : Vishnu Sekhar 

Obesity is a concern and to understand the impact of that concern, CBS reports that globally we spend more money to tackle problems due to Obesity than what we spend on the military. Even though the report was from 2012, I am almost sure that trend will be same and the numbers might have climbed up the ladder. To get a gist of the money involved, we spend  $2.1 trillion to fight obesity and $1.75 trillion on the military. That's a staggering amount of money !!!.

The dataset I have analyzed this week as part of MakeoverMonday project is what triggered this article. The dataset was from CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and it showed a statistics from the year of 2011 to 2015 for The United States. I looked at the dataset multiple times to come up with an analysis and this often happens when you have a dataset with no particular ask. I got caught up with work and put this aside even though the dataset was available since Monday. Then on Thursday night, I stumbled upon an article on one of the aerated drinks and my brain blinked. I opened up my laptop and started looking at the dataset and tried to view the dataset from a different perspective, connecting education with obesity. Does education really makes us more aware of the healthy eating habits and hence keep us fit and healthy ?. That's the question I asked to the dataset. But deep in mind, I was thinking about highly educated people who were having a smoking habit.
I played the tricks with Tableau and came up with the below viz.

The viz gave the statistics which in turn showed that the higher your education, the fewer chances that you become obese. But that is from a comparative perspective. If you look in detail, you can see that obesity rates are shooting up continuously since 2011 across all groups. That indicates something different. I needed to understand the pattern of this and decided to view the data from an income perspective. Luckily, the data set had income data in it. My question was this. What if the low-income group was forced to eat junk foods as healthy foods are costly and out their budget?. But rather than being judgmental I decided to leave that to data. Below is how the analysis came up.

The findings were interesting. When the income level drops below $15K, obesity catches up to 19% and when income level is above $75K, obesity drops down to 14 percentage. This answered my question. When people have more money, they opt for healthy eating as they can afford it. Even their grocery shopping will be changed accordingly. In the same lines, when income levels drop, people opt for low-cost processed foods, which can result in obesity. They even might be aware that a particular food item is processed or junk but they don't have another option. I am happy to untangle this at least for a bit as I do understand that there are a lot of other behavioral patterns which can influence this.
Being said that, Obesity levels are rising, no matter how much educated we are or how much we earn and we must be concerned about that. Getting to the nearby organic supermarket and changing all your groceries to organic will not help. We need to step out and burn some calories. Being fit is one's choice. A daily 30-minute walk/run or even some pushups can keep you fit. Always remember the Healthy Body - Healthy Mind equation. The choice is ours.