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Each year at Thanksgiving the great American tradition of holiday overeating begins—only to be followed by furious outbreaks of remorse and resolution-making on January 1st, of course.
During this post-holiday aftermath, gym memberships jump and the tills of the multibillion dollar fitness industry ring a little more loudly, but overindulgence is not just a seasonal trend. In fact, the “obesity epidemic” fueled by diet and lifestyle has been raging for decades. And it’s getting worse: the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that by 2030 42 percent of US adults will be obese — up from 15% in 1990.
But as waistlines continue to expand, we also see rising demand for fitness and nutrition professionals on Indeed—although there are significant regional variations. Let’s take a closer look at the data and what it can tell us about the state of the nation’s fitness as we enter 2017.
Fitness and nutrition jobs at their highest point in two years
The jobs market for fitness and nutrition professionals is robust, as the chart below indicates. In fact, demand has risen an impressive 35% since January 2015.
The majority of these postings are on the fitness rather than the nutrition side of the equation — there is a 65%/35% split. In fact, seven of the most in-demand fitness and nutrition positions are fitness-related, with trainer coming first (dietitian places second).
Of course, the majority of new year’s resolutions regarding getting in shape are quickly broken. And interestingly we see that, despite the annual blowout, demand is not tied to the season—and this is not the only surprise in the data.
States with the highest concentration of fitness and nutrition jobs
When we look at the regional data, we see some interesting patterns: just as different states have different obesity rates, so they have varying levels of demand for fitness and nutrition professionals. The table below shows the states with the highest number of postings.
Northeastern states occupy the top six positions — in fact, not until we reach seventh place California do we see any regional diversity. However, these states have something more significant than their location on a map in common. Although all of them have seen obesity levels rise in recent decades, they actually compare pretty well to the other 40 states.
For instance, Connecticut, which places first for demand for fitness and nutrition professionals, ranks 42nd for obesity. Meanwhile second place for demand Rhode Island ranks 40th for obesity. Seventh place California is one of the least obese states in the nation — the CDC puts it at #47 on its list. Only 8th place for demand Texas ranks highly for obesity — it is eleventh nationwide, according to the CDC.
In fact, we find that there is a strong negative correlation between the prevalence of obesity and the concentration of fitness and nutrition job postings across states.
In other words, in states where a larger percent of the adult population is obese, it is likely that the concentration of fitness and nutrition job openings will…