Atlanta’s weight problem, in one map

There’s a big problem all over the country: we’re getting more and more obese. But in Atlanta, that’s only the beginning of our issues.

The map above, produced by RTI International using new data about our country’s health, shows how the relative health of North Atlanta compares to South Atlanta. In this map, the blue or yellow colors represent a smaller portion of the population that is obese, while the oranges and reds show areas where a higher percentage of people are classified as obese.

ATL Urbanist, who wrote about the obesity map, touched on a very serious issue that has plagued our city for decades. If you look at the map above, then the map below, you’ll notice that the biggest percentage of obese Atlantans are clearly in areas that are primarily populated by black residents.

Racial dot map

In the map at the top of this page, you may have noticed that the red and orange shading ran nearly along Interstate 20 in most areas, if not a little north of there. See the areas that are primarily African-American? Same thing.

“The divided geography of class and race in Atlanta has a long history; so long that we’ve come to accept the segregation as inevitable,” ATL Urbanist said. “But consider the effects on health: we’ve got a large swatch of the city where obesity is all around, and this is a health epidemic in our country that is related to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Also consider the effects on economic mobility: Atlanta is dead last in the US among big cities when it comes to the chances for a child born in poverty to rise in economic class.”

If you’d like to see a different part of the country, or just play around with the maps, I have linked both below.

Main map via RTI International; Racial dot map via the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service


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