2014-11-13

A Map Of Healthy Eating In The U.S.

Where do the healthiest people in America live? Here’s where people are eating the best and worst foods.

People eat healthier on the coasts of the U.S. than in the Midwest or South. Don’t believe us? Health technology startup Massive Health has gathered food consumption data from hundreds of thousands of users of its Eatery iPhone app, which asks users to take pictures of their food, rate it based on perceived healthiness, and then rate other people’s pictures.

People are actually quite good at knowing whether they and their friends are eating food that’s good for them. The combined Eatery ratings for major cities tracked exactly with the obesity levels in those cities. People in Philly, for instance, know those cheesesteaks are bad for them. But they’re still eating them.

Where are people eating the healthiest? On the coasts. This heat map shows green where people are rating their food as healthy, and red where they’re rating it as unhealthy (we’re looking at you, Philly). As you can see, you’ll find a lot more red as you go inland. You can compare the Eatery map below to a map of official state-by-state obesity rates:

One simple way to up your healthy eating habits, no matter where you live: Cook your own food. Eatery users’ own meals were far more healthy than ones they got at restaurants. You can see the whole infographic below:

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4 Comments

  • Phadke

    I think this type of survey must be conducted in India and for 120 Cr. Indians so as to help them and so as to change them. I feel so bad as an Indian when my motherland is designated as capital of diabetes. 

  • Guest

    Great article. However, I would assume that there is also great variation based on suburban vs city locations. I currently live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which must be one of the healthiest places in the country - despite its Midwestern location. We walk everywhere and get our food from local co-ops and farmers markets. But as soon as you get out of the city, people drive their SUV to McD's, which mirrors much more the lifestyle in experienced when I living Los Angeles suburbs. I would be very interested in seeing this data being combined with data on population densities!  

  • Bridget

    This article is a good start to an important discussion.  I'd love to read a Part II that addresses why those living on the coasts eat healthier and how we can help spread healthy eating methods to the Midwest and South.

  • anon

    Somewhat contradictory that NYC is the 'healthiest' in spite of the fact that New Yorkers eat out so often.  "If Manhattan were its own city...it would be No. 1 for share of food budget spent on restaurants (59%)." http://www.bundle.com/article/...