Stereotypes exist for a reason, which is to say that they are at least partially true. When it comes to the United States of America, foreigners immediately think of fat people. Fair enough, there is indeed an obesity pandemic in the country. Several factors contribute to it, but you might be shocked by the actual figures. Let us find out which states are deemed the fattest in the nation! Do you think that you are going to see your home state here or not? The only way to find out is to keep reading.
Pennsylvania – 31.6% Obesity Rate
The state famous for its cheesesteak has an obesity rate of 31.6 percent. We are not saying that we do not love the greasy sandwiches too. Even so, it is always important to do things in moderation. While Pennsylvania shares the spot with Georgia, its children are worse off. As a matter of fact, the Keystone State boasts a childhood obesity rate, currently the ninth highest in the United States of America.
Georgia – 31.6% Obesity Rate
With an obesity rate of 28 percent, Georgia was doing better than many states in the country back in 2012. Sadly, this number went up to 31.6 percent in only a matter of seven years! Do you think they baked too many cakes and pies with peaches in them? What makes it even worse is the fact that kids also suffer. As a matter of fact, it is in 18th place in terms of obesity among those aged ten to seventeen.
Delaware – 31.8% Obesity Rate
The state health and human services division claims that 39.7 percent of Delaware residents fall into the recommended range. It concerns that a third of those aged 18 to 25 are overweight. Sadly, it looks like people get more obese as they grew old. As a matter of fact, the number goes up to 56 percent for those in the 25 to 34 age range. Even worse, it is 68 percent for those aged 45 to 64. In general, 58.6 percent of adults living in the state are either overweight or obese! That can’t be good.
South Dakota – 31.9% Obesity Rate
For South Dakota, the obesity rate was 29.6 percent or so in 2016. Three years after that, the number grew to 31.9 percent. This number is the reason it is featured on this list! Obesity seems to be especially high in the following groups: American Indians, those with only a high school or GED diploma, people making a yearly income from $25,000 to $34,999, and American Indians. If you ask us, it is unfortunate that people living in Native American reservations have the country’s highest obesity rates.
Wisconsin – 32% Obesity Rate
How is it possible for Wisconsin to stay out of this list when it produces amazing cheese? Despite this, it is still awful to hear that it has an obesity rate of 32%. On the bright side, the obesity rate is on the low side among children. The School of Public Health at the University of Wisconsin conducted a study by looking into local zip codes. They found out that some parts are four times likelier to be overweight.
North Carolina – 32.1% Obesity Rate
Shrimp and grits, pimento cheese, Carolina barbecue… For foodies, these things immediately come to mind when they think about North Carolina. Fun fact: this is where Krispy Kreme Donuts started! The state has a lot of amazing food, but this comes with a high rate of obesity as well. It makes sense since this shows cause and effect. We just hope that the state does something about it as soon as it could.
Michigan – 32.3% Obesity Rate
Can you believe that nearly a third of Michigan residents are obese? To be specific, 32.3 percent of them are. The truth is that this figure is already lower than the previous year, so not all hope is lost. At an obesity rate of 18.9 percent, nearly a fifth of kids aged 10 to 17 are obese. Some people speculate that this figure might be linked to the state’s low high school graduation rates. According to researchers, people who have a lower level of education have a higher risk of obesity.
Kansas – 32.4% Obesity Rate
Are you familiar with Kansan food? They have things like “zwiebach,” “bierocks,” “lefse,” “loose meat sandwich,” and other stuff that sounds like it comes from a different country! They are not the most nutritious things that you can eat either. According to the Kansas Health Foundations, the state joined the list of places that witnessed a sudden rise in obesity levels from 2014 to 2015. Unfortunately, things have not yet improved. While the trend has leveled since then, it could afford to be a lot lower.
Missouri – 32.5% Obesity Rate
What is Missourian cuisine like? For the majority of people, it revolves around toasted ravioli! The Americanized version of the Italian dish was popularized in St. Louis. While it is undeniably tasty, it is not good for us. We wonder if this is why the obesity rate is so high in the Show-Me State. It sits at 32.5 percent! In reality, things are even worse than that since two-thirds of the adult population is obese.
Tennessee – 32.8% Obesity Rate
What can you get when you go to a classic restaurant in Tennessee? We want you to know that the menu will almost certainly be full of many fried items such as fried pickles, fried chicken, sweet potato fries, and fried catfish! Aside from that, meals will likely come with cornbread, country ham, barbecue, and more. Yes, it sounds like an indulgent buffet! With this in mind, the high obesity rate makes sense.
Nebraska – 32.8% Obesity Rate
Unlike the others, Nebraska does not have a reputation for its food. The sad truth is that many people don’t know much about it apart from the cornfields and farmlands. The government seems to know that its weight problem is serious and has tried to find a solution. Sadly, none of the measures have worked. The state once planned to pass a bill involving sodas and candies’ taxation, but this did not happen. Authorities are now trying to fix things by offering healthier food choices in public schools.
Texas – 33% Obesity Rate
There is a saying that says everything is bigger in Texas. This also applies to the waistlines of those in the Lone Star State. One in three residents of the state is obese. The number, of course, is even higher than that when you include those who are overweight. According to the CDC, the number of people who have a BMI higher than recommended is as high as 65.9 percent. On top of that, 27.3 percent of Texans say that they had been sedentary for an entire month.
North Dakota – 33.2% Obesity Rate
Can you believe that all the states had an obesity rate lower than 15 percent in 1985? By 1991, none of them had more than 20 percent. But at the moment, North Dakota has an obesity rate of 33.2 percent. Not only that, but 71 percent of the population is either overweight or obese. It is said that people in rural areas tend to be more obese. A lot of them suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure as well.
Indiana – 33.6% Obesity Rate
In reality, the obesity rate in Indiana has not fluctuated all that much over the years. In 2013, the state saw an obesity rate of 31 percent. At the moment, it is 33.6 percent. It is doing better than other states, but it could still go lower. “The state really needs to step back and say ‘what can we do more of, what evidence-based programs do we need to put in place, and what is a more comprehensive approach to obesity prevention that we need to embrace?’” asked the health director of Trust for America.
Ohio – 33.8% Obesity Rate
The kids are not all right in Ohio! As a matter of fact, it is tragic that one in six kids in the 10 to 17 age group is obese. It is bad, but we think it is dismal that one in seven American children is obese. Anyway, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said that the state remains “optimistic” that it is possible to “turn them around.” In 2016, this number started to decline. Unfortunately, it went back up again.
South Carolina – 34.1% Obesity Rate
Here is yet another state that offers incredible food to those who seek it out. South Carolina is known for its fried okra, pecan pies, she-crab soup, rich grits, and collard greens. It is not easy to turn them down, but it looks like they are not doing the locals any favor. As a matter of fact, the state is among the ten fattest states in the United States, which is not the sort of thing that you can brag about.
Alaska – 34.2% Obesity Rate
The current obesity rate among adults in Alaska is double that what it had been in 1991. Back then, only 13 percent of residents were considered obese. It is rather shocking to see how much the figure has blown up. According to officials, they put a lot of emphasis on a healthy diet in early education. The theory is that people are becoming heavier because food is not only limited but also expensive.
Kentucky – 34.3% Obesity Rate
Well, we did not have super high standards for a state known for its fried chicken. In 2018, a little more than a third of its inhabitants were obese. The state was also second when it came to obesity among kids and teens from 2016 to 2017. This might be the result of poor access to healthy food in Kentucky. There is a study that says the Bluegrass State is only 43rd when it comes to its availability.
Arkansas – 35% Obesity Rate
In Arkansas, high-fat and high-protein food is the way to go. Communal eating is big here, especially if fish, chicken, and meat are on the menu. Based on this alone, it is not hard to see why so many obese people in the Natural State. As a matter of fact, obesity is the most preventable health issue there. According to experts, it is struggling with the prominence of fried food in the local cuisine. On top of that, it has something to do with the uneven distribution of wealth in the state’s rural parts.
Louisiana – 36.2% Obesity Rate
This might be the state with the most iconic and unique local cuisine in the US. Louisianans are proud of their crawfish, rich gumbo, pralines, po’boy sandwiches, beignets, and spicy jambalaya. The bad news is that the youth suffer from an obesity problem as well. In fact, 13.2 percent of kids who are two to four years old are already obese. For those in high school, this number goes up to 17 percent. It is worrying that it seems more prevalent among the members of the African-American and Latino communities.
Alabama – 36.3% Obesity Rate
The state famous for its chicken-fried steak is in the five fattest states in the United States. Alabama has an obesity rate of 36.3 percent, which is already bad enough. However, it is even worse to think that the number is 69 percent when you include the number of overweight residents. According to a CDC study, 31 percent of locals have not done any physical activity at all in the past month.
Iowa – 36.4% Obesity Rate
It is not rare for presidential candidates to visit different states to get the support of the locals. In Iowa, the goal is to visit the Iowa State Fair. This also gives them the chance to try all the local food: a butter cake shake, fried avocado, bacon balls, corn dogs, bacon-wrapped chicken wings, and caramel-dipped pecan pie. Just reading the names of those things is already making us feel like we just packed on the pounds.
Oklahoma – 36.5% Obesity Rate
Sadly, 18 percent of children aged ten to seventeen in Oklahoma are considered obese. That means that it has the sixth-highest rate of childhood obesity in the country. In the past thirty years or so, the obesity rate of children aged six to eleven has more than doubled. At the same time, it has increased fourfold for those who are twelve to nineteen years old! According to experts, this might be related to sweet drinks such as sports drinks, sodas, and energy drinks among the locals.
Mississippi – 37.3% Obesity Rate
What do we have here? Yet another state that has a lot of delicious yet unhealthy food! We are talking about the blue crab and mud pie, among other things. It also has a very high rate of obesity and actually has the second-highest one in the country. The truth is that 37.3 percent of adults in Mississippi are obese. That means that more than a million and a half locals are either overweight or obese. This is clearly not a laughing matter. In fact, it is a big threat to the public health of the state!
West Virginia – 38.1% Obesity Rate
Did you guess that West Virginia has the highest obesity rate in the country? The Mountain State boasts an obesity rate of 37 percent, making it the United States’ fattest state. Its Health and Human Services division calls this issue “one of the most serious public health concerns facing [the] state today.” The authorities reported that it resulted in preventable medical costs of up to $1.4 to $1.8 billion. This also led to low productivity rates that lead to a loss of $506 per obese worker each year.
Honorable Mention: Maryland – 31.3% Obesity Rate
Maryland offers those amazing “all you can eat” crab promos that everyone loves. However, this might be the culprit for the expanding waistlines of the locals. The situation is getting worse, so it might be time to put the crab legs down. According to the State Department of Health, 45 percent of locals suffer from high blood pressure. Meanwhile, 47 percent have high cholesterol, and 23 percent are diabetic.
Honorable Mention: Illinois – 31.1% Obesity Rate
In Illinois, there is a dish called the horseshoe sandwich. You might want to try it for yourself since it is called the unofficial state meal. It has roots in Springfield, Illinois, and is basically a slice of bread with a burger patty or roast beef slices and some French fries and hash browns. To top it off, you get to pour sausage gravy on top of it. Yet again, we can feel our cholesterol going up just by reading all of that.
Honorable Mention: Virginia – 30.1% Obesity Rate
In reality, Virginia has been struggling with its obesity for quite some time now. In 2015, the Center for Disease Control gave it more than $375,000 to provide access to healthy food items and encourage exercise among the residents. The bad news is that these measures have not been all that effective. It might be doing better than most states in the nation, but the obesity rate is still consistently high.
Honorable Mention: Rhode Island – 30% Obesity Rate
While it is not a real island, Rhode Island still offers great seafood selections. In case you did not know, they are typically battered and fried over there. It is not unusual to see plates stacked high with fish, oyster, and fried calamari in local restaurants. However, it looks like locals could do with keeping an eye on how much food they eat. According to the World Population Review, 30 percent of them are obese.
Honorable Mention: Arizona – 29.5% Obesity Rate
Tragically, 29.5 percent of Arizonans suffer from obesity. On the bright side, the figure has actually plateaued already because the state government has actually worked to quell the problem. Even so, it can still do a lot better. The cuisine has many Mexican influences since it is so close to the neighboring country down south. When there is good and fatty food available, obesity is not exactly uncommon.
Honorable Mention: Oregon – 29.4% Obesity Rate
When Oregon is brought up in conversation, the first thing that comes to mind is often the great outdoors. For this reason, people tend to be surprised to hear that it has an obesity rate of 29.4 percent. The state government is now working towards flattening the curve. But outside of that, it has not shown much effort. Here is the statement from the state’s health promotion manager: “We’ve been able to stay pretty flat, which was our intention given the resources that we have to address obesity.”
Honorable Mention: Idaho – 29.3% Obesity Rate
Idaho is famous for its huckleberry! These purple berries go well in just about everything from ice cream to syrup to cheesecake. We are glad that they are getting more attention now. You might not know this, but there are still many hidden family-owned farms across the state. Unfortunately, the sugar in it has led to certain consequences. It may have played a factor in the concerning obesity rate of the state.
Honorable Mention: Maine – 29.1% Obesity Rate
According to date, 29.1 percent of people in the biggest state in New England are obese. That means that it is also the second fattest state in the region. Here is a theory from a medical expert on NBC News: “Fresh fruit and produce are not easy to find in Maine. We’re a rural state, parts of Maine have low-income populations, so we know that in a rural state, many people don’t have access.”
Honorable Mention: Wyoming – 28.8% Obesity Rate
Do you like elk, lamb, sausage gravy, chicken-fried steak, and bison burgers? If so, you should head to Wyoming! It is a good idea to eat these things in moderation, however. The state has 11,500 farms and ranches, which might explain why it has an obesity rate of 28.8 percent. This does not look good, but it is actually slightly lower than the current national average. It is not ideal, but it is doing better than most.
Honorable Mention: Florida – 28.4% Obesity Rate
People like to make all kinds of jokes about the Sunshine State. But when it comes to the obesity rate, Florida does better than most states in the nation. With 28.4 percent of its residents classified as obese, it is the 35th fattest state. Its Department of Health tries to promote exercise further, offer cheap healthy food, and encourage schools and workplaces to help with the issue.
Colorado – 22.6% Obesity Rate
Statistics say that Colorado has the lowest obesity rate in the nation! As of 2017, less than 23 percent of adults in the state are considered obese. Sadly, the number has been on the rise. People aged 45 to 64 tend to suffer from the condition in the state. At any rate, we are glad that the state has not been complacent about this. Hopefully, they will retain their current spot as the least fat nation in the U.S.
District of Columbia – 23% Obesity Rate
A survey revealed that the obesity rate went down by 1.9 percent between 2012 and 2011. It was most prevalent in adults aged 40 to 64. At any rate, its obesity rate of 23 percent is the second-lowest one in the nation! Yes, it is only second to Colorado. When it comes to children, 17.8 percent were considered overweight, and 17.7 percent were obese. According to surveys, these kids needed to eat healthier food and perform more physical activities.
Hawaii – 23.8% Obesity Rate
At the moment, Hawaii is considered one of the slimmest states in the nation. However, it looks like there is trouble in paradise. The local population does not perform enough exercise. In fact, 23. Percent of the locals claim not to do any physical activity! On top of that, 37 percent of adults said that they eat fewer than one fruit a day and opt for less healthy options. The epidemic is rampant.
California – 25.1% Obesity Rate
The Golden State is another state that is doing better at containing the obesity epidemic. It is the fourth lowest at 25.1 percent. For people aged 18 to 25, the rate of obesity is 12.7 percent. It is 24 percent for 26 to 44 years old, and 31 percent for the 45 to 64 age range. Lastly, it is 24.4 percent for those more than 65 years old. There are lots of problems, but fatness is not the worst of them by far.
Montana – 25.3% Obesity Rate
The obesity rate of Montana is pretty low as of 2019. To be specific, it is in the sixth-lowest place since only a little more than 26 percent of the residents are considered obese. The credit goes to the stage programs promoting unprocessed and nutritious food in hospitals and schools. In general, the local authorities are working to fix the obesity problem and improve public health.
Utah – 25.3% Obesity Rate
Even though Utah is faring better than many other states out there, it is not necessarily doing all right. The majority of the locals are in pretty good shape, but they see a steady weight gain. On the bright side, it is not as much as other areas in the country. This came from the yearly “State of Obesity” report by the Trust for America’s Health. The numbers show that things are only getting worse.
Connecticut – 29.1% Obesity Rate
Obesity is a real health concern across the United States. The condition affects nearly one in three adults! In Connecticut, 21.6 percent of the locals said they did not participate in physical activity within the month. This does not bode well for the state, but it is good that 28.5 percent of adults said they eat veggies three or more times in a day. What we do know is that things can still improve.
Guam – 33.6%
Did you know that more than a third of the local population of Guam is obese? The number of overweight adults on the island has been going up and posing a more serious risk to the population. As a matter of fact, 60 percent of deaths are linked to chronic diseases brought about by poor diet and lifestyle. This means that obesity has literally been taking lives. We hope that the situation improves.
Massachusetts – 25.2% Obesity Rate
From 2015 to 2016, the obesity rate among adults in Massachusetts went down a little. This made folks feel a little more hopeful. At any rate, it has a 25.2 percent obesity rate. If you ask us, this is still too high for comfort. The state, luckily, has been working to solve the issue at hand. It now promotes drinking water, eating healthy food, exercising, and raising nutrition standards.
Minnesota – 30.1% Obesity Rate
From 2018 to 2019, the obesity rate among adults in Minnesota had been rather steady. This does not mean that it is good, however. The Department of Health said that the state has an obesity rate of 30.1 percent. This means that almost one in three local adults are obese! The obesity rate is still too high, but it is doing much better than its neighbors like Dakota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Nebraska – 34.1% Obesity Rate
The Cornhusker State has a rather high obesity rate at 34.1 percent. This figure has been on the rise for a couple of years now. In fact, the number has been steadily rising from 2013 to 2018. A little over a third of the local population is considered obese! Major changes should be employed to prevent things from getting even worse. Isolated programs asking for lifestyle changes are simply not doing the trick.
Nevada – 30.6% Obesity Rate
Like a lot of Americans, people living in Nevada seem to be growing bigger and bigger. The numbers are still on the rise, which means more cases of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Even though the state has been putting up obesity policies, it does not seem to be effective. At any rate, Nevada does require better nutritional standards for school lunches compared to other states.
New Hampshire – 31.8% Obesity Rate
It is pretty awful that almost two out of three adults and more than a quarter of kids in New Hampshire are either overweight or obese. On the bright side, the rate has not been going any higher than that in the last five years or so. The government clearly needs to do something about it and the local food industry and its citizens. Even though the obesity rate is rather high at 31.8 percent, only 9 percent of adults in the state have diabetes and other conditions typically linked to obesity.
New Jersey – 27.7% Obesity Rate
We are glad that New Jersey is doing better than other parts of the country. This is not to say that it is doing spectacular, however. The locals are still getting heavier. To address this, the state is trying to remedy the problem through programs. In 2020, it launched an initiative that aimed to improve the overall health of the locals. ‘Healthy New Jersey 2020’ hopes to reach many health-centered objectives and encourage a healthier lifestyle before the year comes to an end.
New Mexico – 31.7% Obesity Rate
For some time, New Mexico had been on an optimistic trajectory. Sadly, it looks like this is no longer the case. In 2000, there had been no state with an obesity rate of more than 25 percent. These days that would be considered on the low end of things. Across the United States, one in four adults is considered obese or overweight. To fight this, the state launched various initiatives to bring down obesity, particularly among kids.
New York – 27.1% Obesity Rate
Sadly, obesity has become an epidemic of sorts in New York City. More than half of the adults in the Empire State are obese or overweight. According to the data, locals can suffer from obesity early on. Nearly half of the elementary school kids have an unhealthy weight. One in five kids in kindergarten in New York City has obesity, which is not a good sign at all. As well all know, obesity often leads to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and more.
North Carolina – 34% Obesity Rate
This state has an alarming obesity rate, but North Carolina is trying to help the people suffering from this condition. In 2016, the state launched an initiative to put an end to this problem. It launched activities via the State Public Health Actions program. The goal was to introduce physical activities to the residents’ daily lives to bring down the obesity rate in North Carolina.
Puerto Rico – 32.5% Obesity Rate
Not many Americans think about Puerto Rico that much, but that does not change the fact that it is part of the country! Sadly, this also means that it is suffering from obesity. We are not surprised to hear that ethnicity has a factor in it as well. While studying the matter, researchers learned that demographic characters played a part in this too. People who did not finish high school were often more overweight.
Vermont – 26.6% Obesity Rate
Unlike the rest of the country, Vermont is actually doing pretty well when it comes to obesity levels. The bar is so low that this hardly means anything. From 2013 to 2014, the obesity rate of the state hardly changed. These days, one in four adults in Vermont are obese and suffer from related conditions. It is doing better than the other states somehow, but that does not mean that it is bad.
Washington – 28.3% Obesity Rate
Even though Washington boasts a high rate of adult obesity, it looks like there is hope for it in the future. The rates of obesity and other conditions are lower than the national average. However, it is worth noting that diabetes and hypertension are in the middle of it all. Nearly 11.9 percent of kids aged 10 to 17 in the state have obesity. This is one of the lowest figures for this in the country!