Manjunath Srinivasaiah‎ > ‎Geeky‎ > ‎

Healthy American States & NYC Marathon 2011

posted Mar 2, 2012, 7:58 PM by M Srini
Reports after reports comment on how obesity threatens the future of America.  The last report paints a rather grim picture with only one state, Colorado reporting < 20% adult obesity rates.  Looking at the positive side, one could deduce that Colorado is the healthiest state in the USA.

A few months ago after running my 2nd NYC Marathon (2011), I thought it would be a good exercise to check the contribution of each of the states to this mega event (or Runner's Christmas as one of my friend calls it).  How many runners did each of these states send per million of its population?  This I thought should give a good estimate of the healthiness of the respective states.  As expected, Colorado romps home with one of the highest NYC Marathon runners per Million population.

The patch of states in the south from OK, LA, AL, MS, AR, TN, KY & WV form the belt with the lowest participation rates in the country.  It is interesting how the density map mirrors almost exactly that of the obesity rates from 2010 (Orange colored states in the image on the right).

NYC Marathon Participation

It should be noted that I've assumed that the traveling expenses remain uniform across different states (which is not true!).  This also explains why I've selectively removed states like NY, NJ, CT, MA from consideration (VT as well though it is still in the map on the left).  These neighboring states also have the advantage of NYRR's 9+1 program where one can gain eligibility to run the marathon by running 9 local races & volunteering for one.

The raw data is here if you want to play with it.  The NYC Marathon data was collected from finisher stats here.  US Population data is from Census 2010.