I’ve never been prouder. Two Pennsylvania Metropolitan areas make the top 10. And Reading has the added benefit of being a dangerous, welfare shithole.
Boulder Remains Least Obese U.S. Metro Area
Residents in the areas with higher obesity rates struggle to afford basic necessities
WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the third consecutive year, residents of the Boulder, Colo., metro area are the least likely to be obese, at 12.5% in 2012. Residents of McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, continue to be the most likely to be obese, at 38.5%. Adult obesity rates are higher than 15% in all but two of the 189 metro areas that Gallup and Healthways surveyed in 2012.
Along with the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas; Reading, Pa.; and Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio, are among the 10 areas with the highest obesity rates for three years in a row. Boulder; Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.; Naples-Marco Island, Fla.; and San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif., have been among the locations with the lowest obesity rates since Gallup and Healthways started reporting them in 2010.
The metro areas with the 11 highest obesity rates in 2012 had an average obesity rate of 34.1%, while the metro areas with the 10 lowest obesity rates averaged 16.6%. Neither average differs substantially from the 2011 averages of 34.8% and 15.9%, respectively.
Nationwide, 26.2% of Americans aged 18 and older were obese in 2012, unchanged from 26.1% in 2011. Of the 189 reportable metro areas surveyed in 2012, 102 had obesity rates lower than the national average. Nineteen of the 25 most populous metro areas surveyed boasted obesity rates lower than the national average. Smaller metro areas were more likely to have above-average obesity rates, consistent with past reporting.
Gallup tracks U.S. obesity levels as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, using Americans’ self-reported height and weight to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) scores. BMI scores of 30 or higher are considered obese.
These metro area findings are based on interviews with 248,538 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, living in ZIP codes that map to each respective metro area. Gallup categorizes U.S. metro areas according to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s definitions for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and reports on all MSAs for which there are a minimum of 300 interviews available.
Residents of the Most Obese Areas More Likely to Be Low-Income
In the 11 metro areas with the highest obesity rates, the average annual wages are lower than in the 10 areas with the lowest obesity rates, reflecting the link between obesity and poverty. The average annual wage in the 11 areas with the highest obesity rates is $38,550, this compares with an average annual income of $47,783 for the 10 areas with the lowest obesity rates. Additionally, residents in the most obese areas, on average, earn $7,240 below the national mean wage of $45,790, while residents of the least obese areas average $1,993 more annually than the national mean wage.
Residents in the areas with the highest obesity rates are also 7.9 percentage points less likely than are those in the areas where obesity is lowest to have enough money to be able to buy food at all times. They are also 6.5 points less likely to have enough money for healthcare and medicine.
Obesity remains a prevalent and costly problem in America. In 2012, the U.S. did not make progress toward the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide goal to reduce obesity to 15%. The Gallup-Heathways Well-Being Index national obesity rate remained steady at 26.2% and just two metro areas had obesity rates below 15%, which is down from three in 2011.
Residents of the cities with the highest obesity rates receive on average lower annual wages and are less likely to be able to consistently afford food and healthcare than residents of the cities with the lowest obesity rates.
The complexity of decreasing obesity must be met with community and workforce leaders moving in tandem to promote the health of citizens and employees. By working together to educate and offer insights into healthier lifestyles, both companies and communities can benefit.
About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks wellbeing in the U.S. and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world. To learn more, please visit well-beingindex.com.