For many Americans, the past year may have been particularly difficult for staying in shape or losing weight. The pandemic-related activity limitations, shutdowns of gyms and cancellations of sports likely has only exacerbated an existing problem.
As many as 81.2 million Americans aged 6 and older were completely inactive in 2019, according to a report by the Physical Activity Council. Nearly 71.6% of Americans over age 20 are overweight, and nearly 40% are obese, according to data from 2016. (The CDC defines overweight as having a body mass index of 25 to 29. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.) The problem is so big, the U.S. weight loss and diet control market is worth at least $72 billion, and is projected to increase in the coming years.
To determine the fattest states in America, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: Obesity & Overweight Prevalence, Health Consequences and Food & Fitness.
The obesity and overweight prevalence category weighs data on the number of adults, teens and children in each state who are obese or overweight, as well as the projected obesity rate in 2030.
The health consequences category considers data on adult residents with health problems typically related to obesity: high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity-related cancer and heart disease, as well as the obesity-related death rate, plus data on health care costs and insurance.
Lastly, in the food and fitness category, each city is scored based on factors that include the share of adults with low fruit and vegetable consumption, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adolescents, access to healthy food, share of physically inactive adults, school nutrition and physical activity policies, number of fast-food restaurants, and fitness centers per capita.
These are the 30 fattest states in America.