When one thinks of New Jersey, one might think of the hoagies loaded with salted meats and sharp cheeses, bounties of salt water taffy, and thin-crust pizza. Perhaps they might contemplate why both of New York’s NFL teams — the New York Giants and the New York Jets — play their games at MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, NJ. However, one should probably think of the few counties in New Jersey with the largest percentage drop in its population’s body fat over the decade spanning 2012 to 2022.
Unfortunately for the Garden State, only four of 21 counties decreased their population’s obesity percentage over those 10 years, according to County Health Rankings Data. Geographically in 2022, the data suggests the counties further north in the state fared better in overall health outcomes than the counties in the southern part of the state. However, in terms of obesity specifically, Salem was ranked first having dropped its population’s obesity by three percentage points since 2012.
Check out the data of the top 21 cities in New Jersey in the data graphic below:
None of New Jersey’s counties have sub-20-percent obesity. The county with the lowest percentage of obese people is Bergen at 22 percent — exactly the same as it was in 2012. However, on average across the state, it dropped by four percent, meaning that much of New Jersey got more obese in that decade by comparison.
Only two counties actually reduced their obesity percentages since 2012. Salem’s obesity percentage dropped by three percent and Sussex’s obesity percentage dropped by a single percentage point. Bergen and Hudson stayed static across the decade. Every other county’s obesity percentage increased by at least one point. Passaic’s took the steepest climb of seven points from 24 to 41 percent.
Monmouth, Hunterdon, Gloucester, Cape May, and Cumberland also increased by seven points. The former two remain just shy of 30 percent obesity. Approximately a third of Gloucester and Cape May’s populations are obese. Cumberland is the lone county in New Jersey where four of every 10 people are obese.
Featured image via Shutterstock/Rolf E. Staerk