AMERICANS are getting fatter: obesity rates have risen 74% in the past 15 years to nearly 28% of the adult population. And they are driving more: the number of miles driven by each licensed driver (VMT/LD), excluding commercial vehicles, increased by an average of 0.6% a year between 1988 and 2008. Academics at the University of Illinois have found a striking correlation between these two variables—but with a large time lag. They noted that previous research had found that changes in diet had an effect on body weight only after some six years. Therefore VMT/LD in 2004 is correlated with obesity in 2010 (see left-hand chart). This near-perfect correlation (99.6%) permits predictions about obesity rates. Since VMT/LD fell in 2007 and 2008, America's obesity rate could fall to as low as 24% in 2014 (see right-hand chart). These predictions come with a strong caveat: correlation does not equal causation. And it should be noted that the authors did not control for factors such as diet, income and lifestyle. Additionally, they did not explore the possibility that the larger, and thus more immobile, people become, the more they drive.
1. rise和increase都表示上升，increase by 表示 按。。增长， increase to表示增长到一个点。
2. striking 表示noticeable,显著的，也可以表示surprising。
adj. 显著的, 吸引人的
I was attracted by the striking idea.
3. correlation： n. 相互关系, 相关, 关联
Are you familiar with their correlation ?
4. prediction表示对未来的数据的预测，或者用 It is predicted that。。。
5. fall to as low as:一方面强调数据跌到一个地点，一方面也可以凑字数。
6. caveat：n. 防止误解的说明, 警告
I would offer a caveat for those who want to join me in the dual calling.
7. it should be noted that=it should be pointed out that