New Yorkers can be pretty cranky — you would be too if you had a mayor who banned trans fats and threatened to restrict salty foods, and sodas away under the premise that it's for your own good. Now, The New York Post is reporting that despite all those restrictions, New Yorkers are somehow still getting fatter. "The city’s obesity rate among adults has skyrocketed 25 percent since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, city Health Department figures show," The Post's Carl Campanile writes.
Now, before you go on a juice cleanse (New Yorkers love these right now), you might want to take Campanile's statistics with a grain of salt (har har). Yes, the obesity rate in New York City has grown, but you have to look at the fine print.
11 Years Is a Lot of Time
The Post starts counting the obesity rate in 2002, which is about 11 years of data. And yes, it's significant that Michael Bloomberg became a mayor of New York City at the point. But what they're leaving out is that 2002 is also around the time the United States's (not just New York City's) obesity rate skyrocketed. This black line, from a chart provided by the Trust for America's Health, shows New York state's obesity rate in comparison with other states' rates. What you'll notice is that it is actually on the lower end of the scale:
New York City's Obesity Rate Is Actually Leveling Off
These are the statistics from the 2012 report from NYC.gov, the city's official site. Again, you'll notice a giant rise if you start looking at 2002, but if you look at 2008-2010, the rate actually remains the same. Now, 23.4 isn't exactly stellar, but it is below the national obesity rate of 35.7 percent.
And according to NYC.gov, the current obesity rate in the city is currently around 22 percent.
City Kids Are Doing Better
One of Mayor Bloomberg's main goals is to curb childhood obesity. The thought being, if childhood obesity is linked to adult obesity, then breaking that link is crucial. And on that front, the city's initiatives seem to be working. The city reported a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese children from 2007 to 2011.
All in all, New Yorkers shouldn't let this report take away from the progress they've made. If anything, the city's flattening obesity rate and skinnier children might show that, yes, Nanny Bloomberg might know a thing or two about keeping his people healthy.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.