The waterfall or cascade chart below shows the primary components that have changed in American children’s diets between 2004 and 2012.
The baseline indicates the average caloric intake in 2004. Each bar shows the increase or decrease relative to this value across food categories. The actual value is not of primary relevance and therefore not displayed. Adding up the change values results in the total change mathematically as well as visually using this type of chart.
This waterfall chart is rotated allowing the audience to easily read the labels. The width of each bar is proportional allowing readers to quickly discern that the change in calories is large due to a drop in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. In addition, we have used a highlight color to further draw the reader’s attention to this finding.