Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors Paper

First Advisor

David L. Lehr, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study is to determine the determinants of obesity rates across metropolitan areas in the United States. Using Ordinary least squares analysis, this study examines the significance of 14 independent variables on the percentage of population overweight and /or obese for 127 metropolitan areas in the United States. Results suggest that income is a significant determinant of obesity rates. Obesity rates increase significantly for metropolitan areas with lower average median incomes. The study also finds that policy variables such as physical education requirements in schools and BMI information collected from children have a significant effect on the percentage of adults overweight in a given metropolitan area. These policy variables did not have a significant effect on obesity rates. With this, this paper suggests that the best way to fight obesity is by increasing median income.



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