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Best and Worst States in America for Obesity

National obesity rankings for all 50 states are listed in two views.

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This report by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, provides obesity rates for the nation and states. From a community standpoint, they also analyzed the 100 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas.

The Well-Being Index includes 2.2 million surveys, captures how people feel about and experience their daily lives,and measures well-being across five elements — purpose, social, financial, community and physical.

These data are collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, and are based on respondents’ self-reported height and weight, which are used to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) scores. Americans who have a body mass index of 30 or higher are classified as obese.

These data are based on 176,702 interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states, conducted from January 2 to December 30, 2014.

Gallup conducts 500 telephone interviews a day with American adults, for a resulting sample that projects to an estimated 95 percent of all U.S. adults.

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Hawaii has the lowest obesity rate in the nation and is the only state with fewer than one in five residents who are obese. Four states have consistent low obesity rates — California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Massachusetts — ranking among the top 10 every year. Hawaii and Montana have also been in the top 10 for six of seven years.

national obesity results for 2014US obesity results 2014

Mississippi has the highest incidence of obesity, with 35.2% in 2014. West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky join Mississippi as states with consistently high obesity rates. This group has ranked in the bottom 10 states every year since 2008. In 2014, the community with the highest incidence of obesity is Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with 35.9% of its residents classified as obese.

Nationally, the incidence of obesity is at its highest level, rising to 27.7% in 2014, up from 27.1% in 2013 and significantly above the 25.5% recorded in 2008. Obesity rates are highest in Southern and Midwestern states and lowest in Western and Northeastern states, a pattern that has persisted since we began measurement.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® research claims a consistent and strong link between obesity and well-being, with lower obesity rates linked to higher well-being.

Americans who are not obese are more likely to be thriving and less likely to be suffering than those who are obese across all five elements of well-being — in one’s sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, relationship with their community and physical health.

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. They are also more likely to eat healthily and exercise, and less likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, diabetes, cancer and heart attack as compared with people who are obese.

From a community standpoint, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® also analyzed the 100 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas.


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