These Are America's Fattest States

A couple of weeks ago, in what we said could be the “worst news” ever, the World Health Organisation added steak to (long) list of things that can give you cancer. As we pointed out at the time, America’s weight problem has become so bad, that nearly three quarters of men are either overweight or obese. But as we also noted, Americans are used to their sedentary lifestyle and have become accustomed to gorging themselves at meal time and if persisting in such creature comforts means shaving a few years off their lifespans well, for most people that’s probably a reasonable trade off so the whole heart disease/heart attack threat isn’t likely to be exceptionally effect. Hence the WHO decided it was time to break out the big gun: the “C” word. 

Now, WalletHub is out with a new analysis that looks to “pinpoint where the weight problem is most prevalent” in America by comparing states on 12 “key” metrics. New statistics, the analysis notes, show that in 2014, some 83 million Americans were completely inactive, the highest number in seven years. With the holidays on the horizon, WalletHub figured it would do America a favor and identify the “problem” states so that residents might exercise a little discretion going back for seconds, or thirds.

What was the methodology?

In order to identify the states with the biggest weight problems, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, including “Obesity & Overweight Prevalence” and “Unhealthy Habits & Consequences.”

Next, they compiled 12 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights.

To obtain the final rankings, they attributed a score between 0 and 100 to each metric. The more points a state accrued, the bigger its weight problems are. Therefore, 100 points = the worst state. They then calculated the weighted sum of the scores and used the overall result to rank the states. Together, the points attributed to the two major dimensions add up to 100 points.

The dimensions are as follows:

Obesity & Overweight Prevalence – Total Points: 70

  • Percentage of Adults Who Are Overweight: Full Weight (~11.67 Points)
  • Percentage of Adults Who Are Obese: Double Weight (~23.33 Points)
  • Percentage of Children Who Are Overweight: Full Weight (~11.67 Points)
  • Percentage of Children Who Are Obese: Double Weight (~23.33 Points)

Unhealthy Habits & Consequences: 30

  • Percentage of Residents Who Are Physically Inactive: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Percentage of Residents with High Cholesterol: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Percentage of Adults Eating Less than 1 Serving of Fruits/Vegetables per Day: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Percentage of Residents with Diabetes: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Percentage of Residents with Hypertension: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Among Adolescents: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Death Rate Due to Obesity: Full Weight (~3.75 Points)
  • Healthy-Food Access (percentage of urban-area residents with low income and living more than 1 mi. from a grocery store or supermarket): Full Weight (~3.75 Points)

And as for the results, here's an interactive map which shows the breakdown by state (the closer to one you are, the higher your state's obesity rate):

Source: WalletHub

Here are the top 10 fattest states:

Finally, the full 50 state breakdown: