Jeff Stanger, CDI Lab, Pim Linders/Data Focus, Burness Communications

Organisation and country:

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health, USA


Adult Obesity in the United States tracks the rise in obesity rates since 1990 using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The interactive visualisation is the centerpiece of the annual State of Obesity report co-produced by the Washington, DC-based Trust for America's Health and the Princeton NJ-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report, and accompanying interactive, are the authoritative annual statement on obesity rates in the United States. The visualisation presents adult obesity rates from each U.S. state and the District of Columbia over 25 years, clearly illuminating the rapid rise of obesity over time using a line graph, dynamic table, and map that is zoomable by isolate particular geographic regions. The audiences for the piece are journalists, policymakers and the engaged public. The visualisation has been accessed nearly 50,000 times since its launch in early September and has been a primary driver of extensive media coverage about the obesity issue as well as social media conversation at #stateofobesity.

Communication strategy:

As indicated in the main description, this visualisation is part of a much broader research agenda and communication campaign around the obesity issue in the United States. The campaign involves paid media, promoted social media posts, social media outreach, mainstream media cultivation and coverage, webinars and U.S. Capitol release events.

The main adult obesity interactive visualization is part of a much deeper obesity "microsite" titled State of Obesity. The microsite contains additional interactive visualizations and data-driven pages on a range of related topics, state-by-state profiles, policy analysis and recommendations, and more.