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Data Story: Exploring the Relationship between Obesity and Physical Activity

Many residents of Massachusetts are struggling with obesity. Although it has many causes, one of the important steps for maintaining a healthy weight is getting adequate physical activity, which can be encouraged by public recreation facilities and programs. This data story explores data about obesity rates in Massachusetts, and other data that may be useful for leaders considering creating or expanding public recreation opportunities in their community.

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People who get regular exercise are not only more likely to have a healthy weight, but also less likely to have other weight-related health problems like hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Parks and other open space are important community assets for encouraging exercise and healthy lifestyles. This map shows that many communities with high obesity rates have open spaces -- such as parks, playgrounds, or beaches -- that might be used to help combat obesity. Although adding parks won’t guarantee weight loss, combined with other policies it could play an important role in encouraging people to exercise more. In the next visualization, we take a closer look at the relationship between exercise, obesity and public recreation programming.
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