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Colorado Still the Least Obese State, According to Gallup

Colorado Still the Least Obese State, According to Gallup

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In the latest update on our nation's health, Colorado wins, while West Virginia loses

Following the news that both childhood obesity and fast-food consumption were down (high five, America), Gallup has released its annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, ranking states from least obese to most obese from numbers collected through 2012.

This year, Colorado is once again the least obese state, with 18.7 percent of poll participants having a BMI of 30 or above (this is up from 18.5 percent from last year, however).

Massachusetts came in second with 21.5 percent of poll participants ranking as obese; Montana had 22 percent.

On the opposite end of the scale, West Virginia kept its position as the most obese state, with 33.5 percent of their population ranking as obese. Mississippi came in second (number one on the CDC poll last year), with 32.2 percent of their participants being obese. Finally, Arkansas was number three in 2012, with 31.4 percent.

On the bright side, West Virginia's numbers did decrease by about 2 percent (down from 35.3 percent last year). The report found that almost 26.2 percent of Americans were obese in 2012, pretty much the same amount as 2011. Guess we were celebrating a bit too soon? Head on over to Gallup for the full report.

How fat is your home state?

For the second year in a row, Mississippi ranks as the fattest state in America, with 35.2 percent of its residents qualifying as obese, according to a new report, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the study found that Hawaii has the lowest obesity rate at 19 percent.

The Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being 2014 Obesity Rankings found that overall obesity in the United States is still on the rise, affecting 27.7 percent of the population, up from 27.1 percent in 2013 and a significant increase from the 25.5 percent recorded in 2008.


West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma round out the list of the five most obese states.

California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Massachusetts have ranked among the 10 states with the lowest obesity rates every year since 2008.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is based on 2.2 million surveys, asking respondents to self-report their height and weight, which is used to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI), as well as questions about their well-being across five categories, including their sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, community, and physical health. The report showed a strong link between obesity and lower overall well-being.

"People who are not obese are more likely to reach their goals, use their strengths at what they do best, make time for regular trips or vacations with friends and family, be satisfied with their standard of living, and feel safe and secure in their community," the report states.

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The 2014 index also includes obesity rankings of the 100 most populous communities in the United States. Colorado Springs was found to have the lowest obesity rate, while Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ranked highest.

Here are the fattest states in America

The national obesity rate rose to nearly 28% last year, up from about 27% in 2013 and again from the roughly 26% recorded in 2008, according to a new survey released Wednesday by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

It's the highest rate that Gallup and Healthways have measured since they started tracking obesity.

Still, a few states stood out.

Mississippi, for example, had the highest obesity rate in the nation — the second year in a row the state has achieved that title — at over 35%. On the opposite end of the scale, Hawaii had the lowest obesity rate at just 19%.

Hawaii, in other words, was the only US state where less than 1 in 5 residents was obese last year.

The two states on the list with the highest obesity rates in the country — Mississippi and West Virginia — have ranked consistently in the number 1 and 2 positions on the list since 2011. And four other top contenders — West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Kentucky — have been among the 10 states with the highest obesity rates each year since Gallup and Healthways began tracking obesity in 2008.

On the other hand, Colorado has continued to have one of the lowest obesity rates in the nation since 2008. Similarly since 2008, California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have consistently ranked among the 10 states with the lowest obesity rates.

Here's a map of the obesity rates by state, with grey representing the states with the highest rates and light green representing the lowest rates:

High obesity rates tend to coincide with higher-than-normal rates of other weight-related health problems.

A 2013 Gallup poll, for example, found that people who live in states with high obesity rates also tend to be less likely to eat healthy and get enough exercise compared with their peers in states with lower obesity rates. Residents of high-obesity ranked states are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases like high blood pressure , depression, high cholesterol , diabetes , cancer, and heart attacks compared with residents in low-obesity ranked states.

Fittest City: Portland

In fact, 6.1% of all male residents ride their bikes to work, by far the highest ratio of any U.S. city. Portland isn’t just about cycling, though: 54.7% of adults in the Rose City perform at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days per week. Temperatures rarely sink below freezing in winter months, and air quality and ozone levels are nearly perfect. Portlanders simply don’t like staying inside. Would you? As the top-ranked locale in our Healthy City index, it makes sense that, according to the CDC,40.3% of Portland residents weigh in within healthy parameters. Fresh air, fresh food, a thriving fitness culture—and easy access to world class health care—make Portland tops.

The Most (And Least) Obese Metro Areas In The U.S.

Despite benefitting from a more relaxed vibe and abundant fresh air, rural dwellers aren't necessarily healthier than people who live in cities. In fact, city folk live longer and healthier lives than their country-side counterparts, who are more likely to be smokers, obese and sedentary, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Still, more than 15 percent of residents are obese in almost all U.S. cities, according to a new report from Gallup identifying the most and lease obese metropolitan areas in the country. Nationwide, 26.1 percent of American adults were obese in 2011. The average rate for the 10 metro areas with the most obesity was 34.8 percent, compared with 15.9 percent for the 10 least obese metro areas.

The data was collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Participants were asked to report their height and weight, allowing Gallup to calculate their body mass index (BMI). A person is considered obese if they have a BMI of 30 or higher.

The report also found that people living in the metro areas with the highest rates of obesity are also more likely to report chronic illnesses, like diabetes and depression, and pay an estimated extra $1 billion for medical treatment than if they lived somewhere with an obesity rate of 15 percent. (Unsurprisingly, there's also significant overlap between the most and least obese metro areas and the most and least obese states, released by Gallup earlier this month.)

Click through the slideshow below to see which metro areas have the highest and lowest rates of obesity. Tell us in the comments what you think: Any surprises?

This state needs more people like Shelly Mack, a food service director and dietician for Jamestown public schools, who implemented National Farm to School month early, this month instead of October, because the local fresh produce was at its peak. "We are doing this for the kids," she told a wire news service. "We are trying to fight against obesity and promote food security by using more local sources."

Nine of the ten most obese states in the country were in the south, and South Carolina has one of the highest obesity rates for children ages 10-17: 21.5%, second amongst all states. It's a shame, because the state is home to plenty of healthy food, including the Charleston Tea Plantation, where we went to develop our brand new weight-loss plan, the 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Diet and Cleanse! Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in just one week!

Reason for Hope?

To stem the tide of adult obesity, you might want to look to your kids.

Philip notes that The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a study showing that childhood obesity may be leveling off -- not getting better, but not getting worse.

That's "encouraging, although we do have to pay attention to it over the next few years to see if it really is going in the right direction," Philip says. A lot of attention has been paid to pediatric obesity in recent years, and if adults follow in their footsteps with healthier habits and healthier environments, "I think we can start to make progress," she says.

The No. 1 most obese state in America

Obesity is more prevalent in some states than in others.

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The obesity epidemic is going south.

More than seven in 10 American adults ages 20 and up are either overweight or obese, according to the CDC. And Southern states top WalletHub’s 2019 Fattest States in America report released on Tuesday.

The rankings were drawn from CDC data on obesity and overweight prevalence across the 50 states and Washington, D.C., as well as data on activity rates, health consequences and food consumption sourced from the U.S. Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and organizations such as the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative and the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health.

And Mississippi was rated the fattest state overall, largely due to having the highest prevalence of children and adults who are overweight and obese. That was followed by West Virginia, which ranked the worst in terms of health consequences (such as the share of adults with Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.) Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama (where residents drank the most sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and fruit drinks, but ate the least amount of fruits and vegetables) rounded out the five fattest states.

On the flip side, Utah was ranked the least fattest, followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, Connecticut and California, thanks to having some of the lowest rates of both obesity prevalence and health consequences, and rating high for fitness and eating more well-balanced diets.

These findings are pretty similar to a CDC report on the most obese states in the country released over the summer, which had West Virginia on top with the highest prevalence of self-reported obesity (with 38.1% of the population identifying as obese), and Mississippi in the second spot with 37.3% of its adults meeting that description. The CDC noted that Mississippi had the lowest life expectancy and the highest rate of people who eat less than one piece of fruit a day, as well as the second lowest level of people who reported getting no exercise. And West Virginia has the highest diabetes rate in the country.

The Gallup’s National Health and Well-Being Index released in February also placed West Virginia on the bottom of its well-being list for the 10th year in a row, based on its low scores for career well-being (as declining coal production and low energy prices have hurt the state’s economy), community and physical health. The lowest-scoring five states on this list were Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, with Gallup noting that the lowest well-being states have been concentrated in the South and the industrial Midwest since its well-being index began.

The country spends almost $200 billion a year on obesity-related health care costs. And while the U.S. diet and weight loss market hit $72 billion last year, many people are still losing the battle of the bulge. Read this piece on your no-B.S. guide to losing weight and keeping it off to tip the scales in your favor.

And this WalletHub map shows the most and least obese states in the country.

Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, announced on May 14 that the state would go from “mask-wearing requirements to mask-wearing suggestions and guidance.” Masks will still be required for unvaccinated individuals in some places, including K-12 schools, jails and health care settings. Counties can implement their own mask orders and restrictions on businesses, though some restrictions on indoor gatherings remain in place statewide. Mr. Polis said he expects the current order, which expires June 1, will be “one of the final, if not the final, phase-outs” of restrictions. More details ›

Covid-19 risk in your area ›

Colorado still the “least obese” state, but scores poorly for “excessive drinking,” high school graduation

It's worse than we thought. I live in Colorado and I don't drink or smoke. Someone else is really driving up the averages.

looks askance at dawn_of_thyme

Ain't that the truth. I'm still new around here and every time I go to the grocery store everyone is in shape and attractive. Bastards are making me buy vegetables and do yoga and shit.

If you live here long enough, you'll look the same way. It's less about wanting to look attractive, and more about wanting to do more and more outdoor activities/sports

Which makes me scratch my head.

I still see a decent amount of morbidly obese or out of shape people here. So what is it like in other states?!

I have lost 65lbs since moving here. The lifestyle is rather addicting.

the craft beer state drinks too much? huh.. thats surprising..

side giggle: was recently out in portland, the trash they talk about colorado beer is REALLY funny. don't get me wrong, it's good and plentiful out there. But they need to come out here and see what "taking it too far" REALLY looks like.

In “excessive drinking,” defined as four consecutive drinks for women and five for men, Colorado was 36th. About 19 percent of Coloradans reported drinking that much at least once during the prior month.

All the hard data here--obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease death rate, cancer death rate--everything with hard numbers showing real health measurements, we're kicking butt! It's the "soft" factors, the lifestyle stuff where people aren't living the way these researchers think they should, that we're doing poorly.

Maybe this measurement of "excessive" drinking isn't really all that bad for you afterall.


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