10 Most Overweight and Obese States In America, According to Data
Most recent CDC data indicate that nearly 40% of adults aged 20 and over have obesity and 71.6% are overweight, if not obese. Being overweight or obese is believed to increase the risk of many health complications, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even certain cancers. While the national rate is high, there are some states that have considerably higher percentages of overweight and obese people than others.
In order to find out which states have the most overweight and obese adults and children, WalletHub took three dimensions into consideration: Obesity & Overweight Prevalence, Health Consequences, and Food & Fitness. The personal financial website evaluated those dimensions using 31 relevant metrics, each of which were weighted. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the "fattest" state. WalletHub then determined each state's weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score.
Below, you will see the states that make the top 10. Then, be sure to check out 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
From least to most overweight and obese…
With a score of 62.39, it's the 10th most obese state and overweight this state has the 11th highest obesity and overweight prevalence of any state, including the District of Columbia. This dimension includes metrics such as the share of overweight adults, teenagers, and kids, respectively. The metric also takes into consideration the share of obese people in each age group as well as the projected obesity rate in 2030. According to WalletHub data, the most popular comfort food in the state is fried ravioli, which clocks in at just under 300 calories per serving.
Oklahoma is the 9th most overweight and obese state in the U.S. with a score of 65. It has the seventh greatest obesity and overweight prevalence of any state (including D.C.). The midwest state also boasts the second-highest percentage of adults that less than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day. The most popular comfort food here is chicken fried steak, which costs about 612 calories per serving. (Related: 30 Comfort Foods From Your Childhood Everyone Loves.)
Alabama has the fourth-highest percentage of physically inactive adults of any other state and the third-highest percentage of adults with type 2 diabetes. Overall, it is the eighth-most overweight and obese state in the country with an overall score of 65.15.
Louisiana has the sixth-highest prevalence of obesity and overweight residents of any state—D.C. included which, in part, makes it the seventh fattest state according to WalletHub data. Additionally, the state has the third-highest percentage of obese children, the third-highest percentage of adults who are physically inactive, and the highest percentage of adults with high cholesterol. Louisiana also has the highest percentage of adults who eat less than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day.
South Carolina residents may fall behind the obesity and overweight prevalence rank of Louisiana residents, however, the state has the fourth-highest rank for Food & Fitness. This includes metrics such as the share of adults eating less than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day, fast-food restaurants per capita, healthy food access, and the share of secondary schools that ban students from purchasing soda or fruit drinks. According to WalletHub data, shrimp and grits is the most popular comfort food in the state, which contains about 716 calories per serving.
Home to one of the biggest music cities in the U.S., Tennessee has the fifth-highest percentage of obese adults, which is a major contributor to its fourth-place rank in the obesity and overweight prevalence dimension. Not to mention the state has the ninth highest rank under the Health Consequences category, which includes various measures such as the share of adults with high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension, respectively. Heart disease rate, obesity-related death rate, and projected coronary heart disease and stroke cases by 2030 are also measures taken into account.
The fourth fattest state is Kentucky, with a score of 68.46. Kentucky claims a spot within the top 10 of each rank: Obesity & Overweight Prevalence (fifth place), Health Consequences (seventh place), and Food & Fitness (second place). Breaking it down further, Kentucky is home to the second-highest percentage of physically inactive adults and the fourth-highest percentage of obese children.
Breaking into the top three most overweight and obese states is Arkansas with a score of 69.37. The state has the third-highest obesity and overweight prevalence of any state, including D.C., as well as the seventh-highest rank in the food and fitness category. The most popular comfort food in this state is southern fried catfish, which is said to contain about 440 calories per serving.
The second most overweight and obese state—according to WalletHub research—is Mississippi, with a score of 74.20. Mississippi has the highest percentage of obese adults, physically inactive adults, adults with blood pressure, and obese children of any other state, including D.C.
Finally, the most obese and overweight state is West Virginia, clocking in with a score of 74.66. West Virginia takes second place in the obesity and overweight prevalence rank, first place in the health consequences rank, and ninth place in the food & fitness rank. The comfort food of choice among West Virginians is the pepperoni roll, according to WalletHub data.
For more, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.