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The Most and Least Obese States in America—Ranked

The state you live in might have something to do with the state your waistline is in.

Living in the South might be increasing your risk of weight gain, according to a new report by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health. The annual report, "The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America," shows a snapshot of adult obesity in the United States in 2016. One of the glaring pieces of data it found was that nine of the 11 states with the highest obesity rates are located in the South. Twenty-five states now have obesity rates that top 30 percent, according to the data.

And those aren't just trivial numbers: when the rate of obesity in your state increases, your own personal risk may increase as well. Recent research at Harvard has shown that your social circle—the folks you interact with on a daily basis—can dramatically impact your own health and fitness. In fact, just having a close friend who becomes obese raises your own risk by 57 percent. In other words, when the folks around you get fat, your own belly starts to expand, too.

The new results did find a silver lining, however: obesity rates have been leveling off over the past few years. Obesity rates remained stable in 47 states (including the District of Columbia) between 2015 and 2016, and one state's obesity rate actually declined.

The editors at Eat This, Not That! took a deeper look at the numbers. Here's where your state ranked, and what you need to know. And if you struggle with your weight gain, take control of your health with these essential 50 Best Weight-Loss Tips—Ever!

Note: 51 = Lowest rate of adult obesity, 1 = highest rate of adult obesity.


Adult Obesity Rate: 22.3%

According to a recent Cornell University study, running is the most popular pastime in Colorado. With that in mind, we weren't surprised to learn that the state's adult obesity rate is the lowest in the nation despite slowly creeping up over the years. Colorado also takes the lead in terms of having the lowest rate of adult diabetes in the country.

District of Columbia

Adult Obesity Rate: 22.6%

Washington, DC may best known for its museums and educational sites, but residents are clearing making health and fitness a priority. The District of Columbia now has the second lowest adult obesity rate in the nation.


Adult Obesity Rate: 23.6%

Massachusetts has the highest rate of insured residents in the nation so it makes sense that they'd be among the trimmest. Despite the fact that their statewide obesity rate has been steadily rising over the years, Massachusetts is still holding onto one of the lowest ranking spots.


Adult Obesity Rate: 23.8%

The fourth fittest state is Hawaii, where the current adult obesity rate is 23.8 percent. While 26.8 percent of men living in Hawaii are overweight, only about 20.3 percent of women face the same health issue.


Adult Obesity Rate: 25.0%

Not only are California's older residents among the leanest in the nation, a 2013 CDC report found that California was among one of the 18 states that experienced a decline in obesity rates among 2- to 4-year-olds from low-income families. It's celebs are fit, too—learn their secrets (and flubs) in 40 Best and Worst Celebrity Weight Loss Tips!


Adult Obesity Rate: 25.4%

According to a report that looked at the most tweeted about activities in nearly every state, Utah citizens love hitting the slopes, so it makes sense that they'd be among the fittest folks in the nation. They're also among the healthiest. In fact, Utah has the second lowest diabetes rate in the U.S.A, with just 8.2 percent of the population living with the condition.

Tie – Montana

Adult Obesity Rate: 25.5%

All those open fields do a body good. The Treasure State is the 7th trimmest in the nation, with 25.2 percent of its men and 23.4 percent its women classified as obese.

Tie – New York


Adult Obesity Rate: 25.5%

While New York lost to its rival New Jersey in 2014, this year, the Empire state finally took back its spot as one of the top 10 trimmest states in America.



Adult Obesity Rate: 25.8%

Way to go, Nevada! Their obesity rate in 2016 was the lowest it's been since 2011.



Adult Obesity Rate: 26.0%

Connecticut citizens may love to play the slots—the state's home to the second largest casino in the United States—but they sure aren't taking any chances when it comes to their health.

Tie – New Hampshire


Adult Obesity Rate: 26.6%

Steadily expanding waistlines in the The Granite State have landed New Hampshire the 40th spot on this obesity list. But oddly enough, the state's rate of hypertension—one of the most common obesity related conditions—has remained fairly stable over the past 24 years at 29.2 percent.

Tie – Rhode Island

rhode island

Adult Obesity Rate: 26.6%

This tiny state also happens to have some of the thinnest waistlines.


Adult Obesity Rate: 27.1%

Known for its plush snow and hike-worthy mountains, Vermont residents are clearly tapping their natural resources to shed off the pounds. Just over 27 percent of those living in the Northeastern state are obese. However, it's not all good news: Cases of heart disease and obesity-related cancer cases in Vermont are anticipated to trend upward in the coming years, according to the report.

Tie – Florida

miami florida

Adult Obesity Rate: 27.4%

Florida's heart disease and hypertension rates are trending upward at a concerning pace. By the year 2030, nearly 2.5 million of the Sunshine State's citizens are projected to have diabetes and 5.2 million are expected to suffer from hypertension, according to the report.

Tie – Idaho


Adult Obesity Rate: 27.4%

In Idaho, cases of obesity-related heart disease are projected to reach nearly 400,000 in 15 years, nearly four times the cases in 2010. As for their biggest export—the potato—Eat This, Not That! recommends it as an unheralded weight loss tool, along with these other The 25 Best Carbs That Will Uncover Your Abs!

Tie – New Jersey

Adult Obesity Rate: 27.4%

Though The Garden State may have been home to the gym-loving cast of The Jersey Shore, it seems most other people living there take their health and fitness routine less seriously—and it's evident by the state's climbing obesity rate. In 2014, the state ranked 41st, and now, they're down to 36th. Between 1994 and 2014, the obesity rate has more than doubled, going from 12.3 percent to 26.9 percent.



Adult Obesity Rate: 27.7%

Ised to be 27 at 29.5
Life is getting better on the range: From 2012 to 2014, the obesity rate in Wyoming climbed from 24.6 to 29.5 percent. Since 2014, the rate has slowly began tapering off, which is a good sign.


Adult Obesity Rate: 27.8%

Home to the Vikings, Twins and Timberwolves, Minnesota citizens love their sports. But it seems that they might enjoy watching them more than sweating it out themselves. (Just under a third of the state is obese.) That might be due to the cold weather, that drives everyone indoors.

New Mexico

Adult Obesity Rate: 28.3%

Obesity rates in New Mexico have stayed relatively stable since 2014—and they actually decreased this year—but they can't come down fast enough: New Mexico has the 12th-highest number of diabetes cases in the country, and more than a quarter-million cases are projected by 2030.



Adult Obesity Rate: 28.6%

For a state that gets about 30 inches of rain per year — which can seriously cut down on outdoor activity time — Washington's slightly better than average ranking is impressive, but there's still room for improvement. Washington's hypertension rate hovers around 30 percent and by 2030, the study anticipants over 1.7 million people will suffer from the obesity-related condition. And of the five states that had increases in adult obesity in the last year, Washington was one.



Adult Obesity Rate: 28.7%

Despite what you see on Portlandia, the state's not full of hipsters making artisan pickles in mason jars: Oregon has the highest percentage of physically active adults in the whole country, at 83.7%! Get inspired by them to get moving—just don't make these 10 Mistakes People Make The First Time They Work Out!

Tie – Arizona


Adult Obesity Rate: 29.0%

These states are tied in the middle of the pack, but there are some worrisome trends: In Arizona, nearly 11% of adults have diabetes, putting it at 21st in the nation.

Tie – Virginia


Adult Obesity Rate: 29.0%

Virginia tied its high of 29.2 percent in 2015, so the state has recovered a bit since last year. But that's not completely good news: More than half of Northern Virginians are overweight or obese, according to a report by the Northern Virginia Health Foundation.

South Dakota

south dakota

Adult Obesity Rate: 29.6%

South Dakota hit a peak of 30.4 percent in 2015, and has dipped back down below 2013 levels as of 2016.

Tie – Maine


Adult Obesity Rate: 29.9%

Vacationland needs to get moving: More than twice as many of Maine's residents are obese than in 1995.

Tie – Maryland


Adult Obesity Rate: 29.9%

Maryland has stayed pretty constant for most of the years at the same percentage and place. The mid-Atlantic state is in the middle of the pack. We partially credit all the seafood.



Adult Obesity Rate: 30.3%

Pennsylvania begins the list of twenty-five that have an obesity rate of 30% or higher, proving that our obesity epidemic isn't just confined to the deep South.

Tie – Delaware

Adult Obesity Rate: 30.7%

Hypertension is the big problem in Delaware—they rank 12th in the country, with rates projected to leap from 187K to 245K by 2030.

Tie – Wisconsin


Adult Obesity Rate: 30.7%

America's Dairyland in the Midwest has had some major improvements over the years. They were previously listed at 14th back in 2014, but these cheeseheads still have a ways to go.



Adult Obesity Rate: 31.2%

Home to delicious barbecue, fried chicken and other fatty homegrown favorites, Kansas is also a giant farmer's market, but 41.4% of adults consume fruits less than once daily.

Tie – Georgia


Adult Obesity Rate: 31.4%

Some encouraging signs here, for future generations of peach-lovers: A CDC analysis reported a decrease in the obesity rate among 2- to 4-year-olds, from 14.8% to 13.2%.

Tie – Alaska


Adult Obesity Rate: 31.4%

When broken down, the study found that "American Indian/Alaska Natives have the highest adult obesity rate, 54 percent, of any racial or ethnic group."



Adult Obesity Rate:31.5 %

Ohio has fluctuated in the rankings over the years. At its worse, it ranked 8th in 2014 and at its best it ranked 26th in 2015. Now the state has settled somewhere in the middle. Despite its somewhat high ranking, there are some mildly encouraging stats: rates of obesity for 10-17-year-olds dropped a percentage point from 2007 to now (from 18.5 to 17.4), one of the few line-graphs that show a downward trend for the state.



Adult Obesity Rate: 31.6%

This state doesn't have much to boast about on the health front: Although obesity rates stayed relatively stable over the years, only 12 percent of state residents were obese back in 1990.



Adult Obesity Rate: 31.7%

They might be 17th in terms of obesity, but Missouri is even worse when it comes to the percentage of residents with diabetes: at 11.5 percent, Missouri ranks 13th.

North Carolina

north carolina

Adult Obesity Rate: 31.8%

North Carolina's obesity rate has been consistently creeping up since 2013.

North Dakota

north dakota

Adult Obesity Rate: 31.9%

Good news for ND, who at it's worse ranked 9th back in 2014 with a 32.2 percent obesity rate.
This state needs more people like Shelly Mack, a food service director and dietician for Jamestown public schools, who implemented National Farm to School a 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."

Tie – Iowa


Adult Obesity Rate: 32.0%

Home of one of the most famous State Fairs—where you'll find the deep-fried everything—the state could stand to consume more local produce, because its population unfortunately eats less than one fruit (39.8%) and less than one veggie (26.9%) a day.

Tie – Nebraska


Adult Obesity Rate: 32.0%

Since 2004, Nebraska's percentage of obese adults has climbed up every year.

South Carolina

south carolina

Adult Obesity Rate: 32.3%

Nine of the eleven 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!

Tie – Michigan


Adult Obesity Rate: 32.5%

Obesity is tied directly to socio-economics, so local hopes are high that the recent $18 million provided to Michigan healthcare centers, under the Affordable Care Act, will foster more education about healthy eating. Unfortunately, Michigan's obesity rates have been on the up and up since 2014, when the state ranked 17th.

Tie – Indiana


Adult Obesity Rate: 32.5%

Indiana consistently ranks poorly for heart disease and smoking rates—and the government knows it. They just launched The Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, providing healthcare to the state's more impoverished communities.



Adult Obesity Rate: 32.8%

The Sooner state might improve its ranking sooner than others, thanks to local health initiatives, including a grant announced to bring more doctors into rural areas.



Adult Obesity Rate: 33.7%

The proud home of the Cowboys is exceedingly loosening their belts. Back in 2012, the Lone Star state sat comfortably in 19th place. Four years later, and Texas' obesity rate has placed them in the top 10.



Adult Obesity Rate: 34.2%

Another Southern state, another shocking childhood stat: 18.5% of high-schoolers are obese in Kentucky, ranking third in the entire country.


Adult Obesity Rate: 34.8%

Tennessee has had quite the fall from grace. The home of Nashville and Jack Daniels sat all the way in 14th place back in 2014, moved up to 9th in 2015, and now rests at 6th in 2016. Tennessee also ranks 7th in all 51 states (including D.C.) for both diabetes rate as well as adult hypertension rate.



Adult Obesity Rate: 35.5%

Louisiana is the first of 5 states with obesity rates that exceed 35 percent of the population. The sad news here is not only the high ranking, but how much worse it's expected to get. The state had 69,400 cases of obesity-related cancer in 2010—with a projected 170,092 in 2030. And hypertension rates are expected to soar to 1.14 million by 2030, which would mean ¼ of the current population.

Tie – Alabama


Adult Obesity Rate: 35.7%

Alabama's obesity rate has been climbing since the 1990s. Having taken the #8 spot in 2013, the Yellowhammer State has now made its way up to third—tying with Arkansas.

Tie – Arkansas


Adult Obesity Rate: 35.7%

The 29th largest state is unfortunately one of the largest. That being said, 2016's numbers at 35.7% is lower than Arkansas' 2014 number of 35.9%, which—at the time—had earned the state the title of the #1 biggest.



Adult Obesity Rate: 37.3%

Mississippi is one of the five states to earn the dubious honor of having an obesity rate over 35%. And while the state only ranks 2nd for adult obesity, it ranks first in childhood obesity for both 10- to 17-year-olds as well as high school students.

West Virginia

west virginia

Adult Obesity Rate: 37.7%

West Virginia's place at the top of the list has fluctuated over the years with the state last taking first place back in 2013. Unfortunately, the state has claimed the top spot yet again three years later. Twenty-five years ago, the obesity rate in West Virginia was just 13.7 percent. West Virginia also happens to have the highest rate of diabetes in the entire country, at 15%, as well as the highest rate of hypertension, at 42.7%.


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