In less than 25 years, the United States has gone from having no state with an adult obesity rate above 20% to having no state with one below it. Twenty states have obesity rates above 30% (see: America’s Fattest States). There is some encouraging news, however. America’s obesity epidemic is showing signs of stabilizing, even if rates are not yet shrinking.
Here are ten states leading the way.
Colorado, at 21.3%, now has the lowest adult obesity rate among U.S. states and the District of Columbia, according to newly released data from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Even there, last year’s rate showed an uptick from 2012’s 20.5%.
One benefit for the state’s residents is that they experience relatively low levels of obesity-related disease such as hypertension and diabetes. Colorado ranks first in the nation for the lowest prevalence of diabetes, and only Utah betters it when it comes to hypertension. At 6.3%, its adult diabetes rate is less than half that of Alabama, the state with the highest adult diabetes rate at 13.8%.
Western and Northwestern states dominate the list of the top 10 least chubby states — just as Southern and Midwestern states dominate the list of the fattest ones. Hawaii, District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Utah round out the top five of the least obese states. See the accompanying slideshow for the full top ten.
That geographical divide is reflected in two other measures, consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables and the extent of the physical exercise taken by the states’ residents. New Hampshire, California, Vermont, Massachusetts and District of Columbia top the list of states that munch fresh fruit and veg daily; Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, West Virginia and Louisiana, all among the chubbiest states, are at the bottom of that list
Colorado tops the list of the states with the lowest levels of physical inactivity (i.e. have the least couch potatoes), followed by Oregon, the District of Columbia, Washington State, and Vermont. The least active states are Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Research shows that 60% of American adults are not sufficiently active to gain the health benefits of physical exercise. We have laid out one simple exercise program that anyone from teenager to senior or any age in between and of any weight can do at home. It doesn't require special equipment and it isn't a boot camp. It is designed to bring you up gradually to a healthy level of fitness and take off the pounds with a daily 12-minute routine (see: How a Half-Century-Old Exercise Plan and 12 Minutes a Day Could Make You Your Fittest Yet; we have easy to follow instructions for each exercise and day-by-day goals).
We also have tips on how to lose the last 10 pounds, how to build exercise seamlessly into your daily routine by moving more at work, and some no-nonsense weigh loss advice from Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt. You can always find more tips, advice and support in our Fitness channel.