It is hard to escape stereotypes, especially when they come with a semblance of truth. There is no way we can deny that the United States of America is suffering from a weight problem. We can attribute its rise to a number of things, but the actual numbers are going to astound you. Do you have any idea which of the 50 states are considered the fattest? Let us take a look at which states are bearing the brunt of this nutritional reality. We hope that you are not going to find your own state on this list!
Pennsylvania – 31.6% Obesity Rate
Known for its cheese steak shops, this state boasts an obesity rate of 31.6 percent. We have to admit that we are fans of those greasy sandwiches as well, but we do not eat them on the regular. While Pennsylvania is tied with Georgia, it sounds like the children in this state have it worse. We are saying this because the childhood obesity rate in the Keystone State is the 9th highest in the United States!
Georgia – 31.6% Obesity Rate
In 2012, Georgia did not do too badly in terms of the obesity rate, but it was still far from acceptable at 28 percent. In only a span of seven years, things got even worse as the figures climbed to 31.6 percent. Maybe they were baking too many pies and cakes with those famous peaches. Kids are not immune to this either. In fact, it is 18th when it comes to obesity levels among kids ten to seventeen years old.
Delaware – 31.8% Obesity Rate
According to the health and human services division of Delaware, only 39.7 percent of its residents are in the recommended range. Around a third of people aged 18 to 25 are considered overweight! The older they are, the likelier they are to be obese. In fact, 56 percent of those aged 25 to 34 are overweight. Even worse, this is true for 68 percent of people who are 45 to 64 years old. Overall, 58.6 percent of the adults in the state are either obese or overweight. That does not sound good at all.
South Dakota – 31.9% Obesity Rate
In 2016, around 29.6 percent of those living in South Dakota were obese. Three years later, the number increased to 31.9 percent. This figure meant that it now gets to be part of this unfortunate list of ours. Sadly, the following people tend to suffer from high obesity rates: American Indians, people who only have a GED or a high school diploma, and those earning an annual income of anywhere from $25,000 to $34,999. It is sad to hear that Native American reservations see the highest obesity rates in the nation.
Wisconsin – 32% Obesity Rate
It sounds impossible to stay off this list when your state is known for cheese. This might have something to do with the inclusion of Wisconsin on the list! The good news is that it has a pretty low obesity rate among kids. In the hopes of fighting obesity, the School of Public Health at the University of Wisconsin used zip codes in a study. It is said that certain areas are four times more likely to be overweight!
North Carolina – 32.1% Obesity Rate
Some people immediately think of a Carolina barbecue, pimento cheese, and shrimp and grits when they hear the name of this state. Did you know that it is also the birthplace of Krispy Kreme Donuts? North Carolina boasts delicious food, but it also has a high obesity rate. These two things seem to go hand in hand! Sadly, the state might want to look into bringing down the obesity rate sooner than later.
Michigan – 32.3% Obesity Rate
Nearly a third of Michiganders are obese! The good news is that the number has actually gone down from the previous year. Around 18.9 percent of children aged 10 to 17 suffer from obesity, which is not relatively good. Sadly, the state should keep an eye on things and get it under control. It is said that the data might have something to do with the low rates of high school graduation in the state. Researchers have noticed that people with lower education levels tend to be more at risk for obesity.
Kansas – 32.4% Obesity Rate
After checking out the food in Kansas, some people might think that it is a whole new country. Among other things, you have “bierocks,” “lefse,” “zwiebach,” and “loose meat sandwich.” If you are not familiar with them, trust us when we say that they are not very healthy. The Kansas Health Foundations said that the state was one of many that saw a sharp rise in obesity between 2014 and 2015. Things have yet to improve as well. The state has since leveled, but things could still be much better.
Missouri – 32.5% Obesity Rate
Toasted ravioli… do we really need to say more than that to remind you of Missourian cuisine? The dish was invented and made popular in St. Louis. This Americanized version of Italian food is as delicious as it is bad for you. It probably explains the high obesity rate of the Show-Me State. The overall population is 32.5 percent obese. But it is even worse when you hear that two-thirds of adults suffer from obesity.
Tennessee – 32.8% Obesity Rate
Have you ever been to Tennessee? If you have gone to a classic restaurant there, you would have seen that there are lots of fried stuff on the menu. The list includes fried catfish, fried pickles, fried chicken, and sweet potato fries. Let us not forget that they often come with barbecue, corn bread, country ham, and more! They seem indulgent because they are. We can see why it has such a high obesity rate.
Nebraska – 32.8% Obesity Rate
Fair enough, Nebraska is not famous for its cuisine. The locals say that a lot of Americans do not know much about the state other than its vast farmlands and corn. It seems like the government knows that it has a weight issue and has been attempting to fix it, to no avail. Once, the state government discussed a bill that involves the taxation of candies and soda beverages. It was never passed. Nebraskan authorities now hope that serving healthier food in public schools will help to improve the state of things.
Texas – 33% Obesity Rate
You have probably heard that everything is bigger in the Lone Star State. Sadly, this is also true when it comes to waistlines! One in three Texan adults suffers from obesity. If you count the number of overweight people, the number goes even higher. The CDC says that as much as 65.9 percent of people in the state go above the recommended BMI. Furthermore, 27.3 percent of residents say that they did not engage in physical activity at all in the course of a month. Yikes.
North Dakota – 33.2% Obesity Rate
In 1985, there was no state that had an obesity rate north of 15 percent. Six years later, no state had an obesity rate over 20 percent. Sadly, the obesity rate in North Dakota has since gone up to 33.2 percent. In fact, 71 percent is obese or overweight. Those in rural areas tend to see higher levels of obesity. What makes it even worse is that 29.5 percent have high blood pressure, while 10 percent have diabetes.
Indiana – 33.6% Obesity Rate
The truth is that the obesity rate of Indiana has remained rather stable in the past. In 2013, it had an obesity rate of 31 percent. This is not drastically different from today’s 33.6 percent. It should still be lower, of course. Trust for America’s Health director said, “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?’”
Ohio – 33.8% Obesity Rate
It looks like the kids are not all right. In Ohio, things look grim since one in every six kids aged 10 to 17 is obese. This is already depressing enough on its own but wait until you hear that one in every seven American kids suffers from obesity. At any rate, the state feels “optimistic” that it can “turn the tide around,” said the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2016, the number went down only to go back up.
South Carolina – 34.1% Obesity Rate
If you have ever been to South Carolina, you will probably agree that the state has amazing food. You have collard greens, rich grits, pecan pies, she-crab soup, fried okra, and more! We know that it is hard to resist temptation, but the locals indulge in it anyway. The Southern state has made it to the list of the top ten fattest states in the country. We are sure that it does not take pride in this honor, if you can call it that.
Alaska – 34.2% Obesity Rate
Since 1991, the number of obese adults in Alaska has more than doubled. Nearly 30 years ago, 13 percent of the locals fell under this category. It was surprising that the number grew by this much. Alaskan officials claim that they emphasize healthy food in early education. Some people speculate that people are getting heavier since food is typically both expensive and limited in this state.
Kentucky – 34.3% Obesity Rate
What did you expect from a state that we instantly associate with fried chicken? In 2018, 37 percent of its inhabitants were said to be obese. From 2016 to 2017, the state came in second when it came to the obesity rate of kids and teens. The dismal records might have something to do with the lack of healthy food. One study said that Kentucky was 43rd in terms of healthy food availability!
Arkansas – 35% Obesity Rate
For Arkansans, nothing beats high-fat, high-protein food items. The state likes communal eating, especially if there is meat, fish, and chicken involved. From that alone, you can already guess why the Natural State suffers from such a high obesity rate. Obesity is actually considered the most preventable health issue in the state! Experts say that there are many Southern states on the list since fried food is considered a staple in the diet. It also has to do with the uneven wealth distribution in the rural areas within the state.
Louisiana – 36.2% Obesity Rate
You do not need to be a genius to know that Louisiana has a lot of iconic food. Locals take pride in the rich gumbo, spicy jambalaya, beignets, po’ boy sandwiches, crawfish, pralines, and more! Sadly, it seems like obesity affects the youth. Isn’t it awful that 13.2 percent of kids aged two to four are already obese? This goes up to 17 percent among those in high school. The problem seems to be the most prevalent among members of the African-American community. The Latino community is widely affected as well.
Alabama – 36.3% Obesity Rate
Known for its chicken fried steak, Alabama has the fifth-highest obesity rate in the country. The 36.3 percent obesity rate is bad enough on its own, but it is even more devastating to hear that this goes up to 69 percent when you count the number of overweight residents. A CDC study said that 31 percent of Alabamans have not performed physical activities whatsoever in the previous month.
Iowa – 36.4% Obesity Rate
Presidential candidates go to different states in an attempt to win over the support of the voters. Many candidates try to go to the Iowa State Fair, which boasts insane food items for sale. This includes bacon-wrapped chicken wings, a butter cake shake, caramel-dipped pecan pie, fried avocado, corn dogs, bacon balls, and more. We feel like we just put on ten pounds by reading that list!
Oklahoma – 36.5% Obesity Rate
Can you believe that 18 percent of Oklahoman kids aged ten to seventeen are obese? This means that the state has the sixth-highest childhood obesity rate in the United States! Over the course of the past three decades, the figure has more than doubled among kids aged six to eleven. Meanwhile, it has quadrupled among those aged twelve to nineteen. Experts believe that this has something to do with the popularity of sugary drinks like energy drinks, sports drinks, and sodas among the residents.
Mississippi – 37.3% Obesity Rate
This state also has its fair share of unhealthy but delicious food in the form of Mississippi mud pie, blue crab, and more! Sadly, the state has since earned one of the top obesity rates in the United States. In fact, only one state has bested it. Approximately 37.3 percent of Mississippian adults are obese. If you need some context, this means that over one and a half million folks in the state are either obese or overweight. As you can imagine, this is a huge threat to the state of public health in Mississippi.
West Virginia – 38.1% Obesity Rate
Who would have thought that West Virginia is the fattest state in the United States? The Mountain State has a 38 percent obesity rate, which is the worst in the entire country. The Health and Human Services division of the state says that it is “one of the most serious public health concerns facing [the] state today.” According to the authorities, this issue has led to preventable medical costs of $1.4 to $1.8 billion! It has also resulted in lower productivity rates that cost employers $506 per obese worker a year.
Honorable Mention: Maryland – 31.3% Obesity Rate
Maryland has a lot of “all you can eat” crab promos, which might explain the expansion of waistlines in the state. To be fair, it is hard to put those crab legs down! Sadly, things are getting out of hand. The Department of Health of the state says that 45 percent of Marylanders have high blood pressure, 47 percent suffer from high cholesterol, and 23 percent have diabetes.
Honorable Mention: Illinois – 31.1% Obesity Rate
If you do not know what a horseshoe sandwich is, you should go to Illinois ASAP. It is said to be the unofficial state meal! These things originated in Springfield, Illinois. You just need a thick slice of bread, roast beef slices or a burger patty, and a pile of hash browns or French fries. The last thing you have to do is pour sausage gravy over it. Yep, we also feel like we downed one of those things by reading about it.
Honorable Mention: Virginia – 30.1% Obesity Rate
The sad truth is that Virginia has long been dealing with obesity. In 2015, the state received over $375,000 from the Center for Disease Control to improve access to healthy food and encourage physical activity among the locals. Sadly, these efforts did not bear a lot of fruit. The state might not be in the 25 fattest states in the nation, although its consistently high rate does not bode well for Virginians.
Honorable Mention: Rhode Island – 30% Obesity Rate
Rhode Island might not be an actual island, but it still has amazing seafood! Just a heads up, they are mostly battered and fried. We are sure that you won’t when you see plates piled high with fried calamari, fish, and oyster! You would be wise to keep an eye on the calories that you consume, however. The World Population Review said that 30 percent of Rhode Islanders suffer from obesity.
Honorable Mention: Arizona – 29.5% Obesity Rate
Sadly, 29.5 percent of people living in Arizona are obese. It is probably somewhat better that the number has plateaued thanks to the efforts of the state government. However, it could still be doing so much better. The local food has a lot of heavy Mexican influences thanks to its proximity to our neighbor. This might explain why it has been so hard for the locals to bring down the obesity rate.
Honorable Mention: Oregon – 29.4% Obesity Rate
It is easy to imagine the great outdoors when it comes to the topic of Oregon. This is why so many people are surprised to hear that it has higher obesity rates than its neighbors! The state has been working hard to flatten the curve, but it has not done much outside of that. At any rate, the health promotion manager of the state gave this statement to the local media outlets: “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
The huckleberry is one of the things that most people associate with Idaho. The purple berries are added to anything from ice cream to cheesecake to syrup! They have since gotten more attention. Did you know that there are hidden family-owned huckleberry farms all over the state? Sadly, all the sugar has taken a toll on the locals. It might have something to do with the obesity rate of 29.3% in Idaho.
Honorable Mention: Maine – 29.1% Obesity Rate
The largest state in New England has an obesity rate of 29.1 percent. This makes it the second fattest one in the region as well. A medical expert gave NBC News an interesting theory: “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
In Wyoming, you can have all the bison burgers, lamb, elk, sausage gravy, and chicken-fried steak that you want. But this does not mean that you should! There are 11,500 ranches and farms within the state. This could be why 28.8 percent of the people in the state are obese. It might look bad, but this is actually a bit lower than the national average. While it is not ideal, it is better off than many other states.
Honorable Mention: Florida – 28.4% Obesity Rate
The Sunshine State has been on the receiving end of many jokes in the past. In terms of obesity rate, Florida is actually faring much better than the majority of the country. At 28.4 percent, it is 35th out of the 50 states. The Florida Department of Health is still trying to reduce the numbers through programs that promote exercise, offer healthier options at lower prices, and encourage workplace and school initiatives.
Colorado – 22.6% Obesity Rate
According to statistics, Colorado is the state with the least amount of people who are obese. Roughly 23% of the adults residing in this state were obese in 2017, the lowest rate in the nation. However, the number of obese people keeps on rising. Those who are between age 45 and 64 are most likely to be obese in Colorado. Of course, the state is taking action and trying to lower those numbers by raising awareness and passing related laws.
District of Columbia – 23% Obesity Rate
According to a survey done, there was a 1.9% decrease in obesity in District residents in 2012 – compared to 2011. It’s most common among adults aged 40-64 in the district of Columbia. All the same, this district ranks the second lowest rate of obesity in the United States, just higher than Colorado. In children, 17.8% were overweight in the district of Columbia while 17.7% were obese. Surveys done showed that their nutrition was lacking and that they didn’t do enough physical activity.
Hawaii – 23.8% Obesity Rate
Hawaii might have ranked one of the lowest states in the obesity scale in America, but things have taken a bad turn in paradise. Since the population of Hawaii doesn’t do enough exercise overall – 23.5% of residents have said they do zero physical activity. Not to mention, 37% of adults in the states have said they eat less than one fruit per day, opting for unhealthier options instead. It seems no state is safe from this epidemic.
California – 25.1% Obesity Rate
California is ranked 4th lowest in the United States in terms of obesity. Less than one in every four adults living in the state of California is considered to be obese. For those ages 18 to 25, there is a 12.7% rate of obesity. For those 26 to 44, 24%. Those between 45 to 64, 31% while those over 65 are at 24.4%. While California has plenty of problems to worry about, being fat is not one of those problems.
Montana – 25.3% Obesity Rate
As of 2019, Montana’s obesity rate is among the country’s lowest. It comes in at 6th place in terms of the lowest obesity rates. Just over 26% of Montana residents are obese. This is said to be a testament to the state programs that promote nutritious and unprocessed foods in schools and hospitals. As a whole, Montana is working on the issue of obesity and improving the public’s health overall.
Utah – 25.3% Obesity Rate
While Utah has a lower obesity rate than a lot of the other states, that doesn’t mean it’s doing well. Despite the fact that most people in the state are relatively healthy, they’re still steadily gaining weight – just not as much as the rest of the country, according to the annual “State of Obesity” report made by the Trust for America’s Health. The numbers are simply showing how the national obesity crisis is getting worse.
Connecticut – 29.1% Obesity Rate
As we know by now, obesity is a major health concern in the United States. It impacts almost one in three adults. Of all the adults in the state, 21.6% have reported that they haven’t participated in any physical activity in a month at least. This is while 28.5% of adults reported having eaten vegetables three or more times a day recently. All the same, Connecticut is another state that needs to take action towards improving the public’s health.
Guam – 33.6%
In Guam, over 30% of the population is obese. With time, the number of adults in Guam who were overweight has been growing steadily, posing more and more of a threat to the population. In fact, around 60% of deaths in Guam are caused by chronic diseases that are linked to poor lifestyle and diet patterns. Meaning that most deaths in Guam are due to weight problems and obesity, making it a deadly epidemic.
Massachusetts – 25.2% Obesity Rate
Between 2015 and 2016, the adult obesity rate in Massachusetts dropped slightly, raising a little hope in the state. All the same, the state faces a rate of 25.2% of obesity in its population, meaning that it’s still serious enough to pose a problem. The state has been taking steps toward remedying the problem. They’ve created initiatives for drinking water, raising nutrition standards, healthy eating, physical activity, and more.
Minnesota – 30.1% Obesity Rate
The adult obesity rate in Minnesota has remained rather steady in 2018 and 2019, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. According to the Department of Health, Minnesota has a 30.1% obesity rate. Nearly one in three adults suffers from obesity. Aside from the fact that Minnesota’s obesity rate is lower than the national average, it’s also lower than its neighboring states. North Dakota, South Dakota, and Dakota, to name a few, have obesity rates above 33%.
Nebraska – 34.1% Obesity Rate
Aside from the fact that Nebraska is on the higher end of American obesity rates, its rate has been increasing for several years now. From 2013 to 2018, the numbers have risen steadily. Just over a third of the population weighs in as obese nowadays. It seems that major changes need to be set in place for Nebraska residents since isolated programs calling for lifestyle changes aren’t doing enough.
Nevada – 30.6% Obesity Rate
As with most Americans, those residing in Nevada are experiencing wider and wider waists. The numbers are unfortunately steadily increasing, leading to more cases of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. While obesity policies are being erected throughout the states, it doesn’t look like they’re doing much good for the population just yet. All the same, Nevada is one of the few states that require higher nutritional standards for kids’ school lunches.
New Hampshire – 31.8% Obesity Rate
New Hampshire is in a rather dire state: nearly two out of three adults and over a quarter of the children are overweight or obese. The only good thing to be said is that this rate has held steady for at least five years now. It’s clear that action needs to be taken by governments, the food industry, and individuals in order to start reversing this deadly trend. Despite the percentage, only 9% of adults in New Hampshire suffer from diabetes or obesity-related conditions.
New Jersey – 27.7% Obesity Rate
When it comes to obesity, New Jersey seems to be faring better than most of the country. That isn’t to say that they’re doing well. Just like all the other states, New Jersey is slowly getting heavier. However, the state is taking some serious action towards remedying the problem. An initiative was created in 2020 with the goal of improving New Jersey’s residents’ health overall. ‘Healthy New Jersey 2020’ aims to reach various health-centered objectives by the end of the year to encourage healthier lifestyle choices.
New Mexico – 31.7% Obesity Rate
New Mexico was on a positive trajectory for a while, but it seems it’s taken a rough turn over the recent years. Back in 2000, no American state had an obesity rate above 25%, but sadly, nowadays, that’s considered to be low compared to the other states. All across the U.S., one in four adults is overweight or obese. To combat this issue, New Mexico has come up with initiatives to help decrease obesity – especially with children.
New York – 27.1% Obesity Rate
In New York City, obesity has turned into an epidemic. Over half of the adults in New York are overweight or obese. Data shows that people can become obese early in life. Almost half of all elementary school kids don’t have a healthy weight. In New York City, one in five kindergarten kids has obesity and is not at a healthy weight. Naturally, those who are obese have a higher risk of conditions like diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and more.
North Carolina – 34% Obesity Rate
With an alarmingly high obesity rate, North Carolina is a state that is working to heal this problem in the people who suffer from it. In 2016, they began an initiative that was meant to combat the problem. State activities were created – the State Public Health Actions program. Its goal was to reduce obesity in the people living in North Carolina by creating more ways for them to stay active in their daily routines.
Puerto Rico – 32.5% Obesity Rate
Despite the fact that many Americans don’t think of Puerto Rico often, it’s still part of the United States, and it’s another location that’s suffering from high rates of obesity. Unsurprisingly, ethnicity takes part in this problem. There were other demographic characteristics that came into account when investigating this occurrence. Those who didn’t have a high school degree or an equivalent were also found to be overweight than their counterparts.
Vermont – 26.6% Obesity Rate
Compared to the rest of the United States, Vermont is doing relatively well in terms of obesity rates. However, the bar is set so low that it doesn’t mean much to say such a thing. Between 2013 and 2014, Vermont’s obesity rate hardly budged at all. Nowadays, one of every four adults in the state suffer from obesity and other accompanying conditions. Despite the fact that it’s lower than other states, it’s still bad.
Washington – 28.3% Obesity Rate
While Washington still has a high rate of obesity in adults, it has been taking steps toward a brighter future. Its rates of obesity and related conditions has become lower than the U.S. median. Rates of diabetes and hypertension rank in the middle, however. All the same, only 11.9% of the youth ages 10-17 suffer from obesity in the state, making it one of the lowest percentages in the United States.