Friday, May 8, 2009

New Zealand as an obese outlier

Catherine Rampell writes in the New York Times:
On Monday, in posting some of the data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Society at a Glance report, I noted that the French spent the most time per day eating, but had one of the lowest obesity rates among developed nations.

Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

Here I’ve plotted out the relationship between time the average person in a given country spends eating and that country’s obesity rate (as measured by the percentage of the national population with a body mass index higher than 30).

There does seem to be some correlation (although, as we all know, correlation is not causation).
Generally, it seems that the more time you spend eating (OK, a population does), the less likely you are (OK, a population is) to be obese. New Zealand - which eats nearly as slowly as slim France but is nearly as obese as the UK - is a striking outlier on this graph. (Click on it to see a bigger version.)

Is it because we eat fast food slowly?

Monitor: Marginal Revolution


laughykate said...

I made the graph look bigger and my first thought was, 'But where's 'Murrica?'.

And then I saw.

Right up top hidden under some weird symbol thingy on my computer.

Stephen Stratford said...

Yes, America is an outlier too but you'd expect that.

But I was rather hoping to hear from a statistician. A bunch of them from Auckland Uni have visited but in a lurking way. So many questions: why are we so off-trend? Why are we so different from Australia? Why is South Korea the total opposite? What is it with Turkey?