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America's Most Obese Metropolitan Areas

Montgomery, Ala., and Stockton, Calif., Share the 'Honor' of Most Obese Metro Area
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 3, 2010 -- A ranking of No. 1 -- or being in the Top 10 -- isn't always something to crow about.

The latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index lists the 10 most obese metropolitan areas in the U.S. and finds that adult obesity rates in each are significantly greater than the national average of 26.5%.

Here's a list of the 10 most obese metro areas, with those ranking highest having the greatest obesity rates.

  1. (tie) Montgomery, Ala., and Stockton, Calif.: 34.6%
  2. Visalia/Porterville, Calif.: 34.1%
  3. York/Hanover, Pa.: 34%
  4. Flint, Mich.: 33.9%
  5. McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, Texas: 33.7%
  6. Bakersfield, Calif.: 33.6%
  7. (tie) Lynchburg, Va., and Huntington/Ashland, West Va., Ky., Ohio: 33%
  8. Kingsport/Bristol, Tenn., Va.: 32.9%


Eating Fruits and Veggies

The latest Well-Being Index also examines factors that are linked to obesity.

Here's a look at how metro areas ranked according to the percentage eating fruits and vegetables frequently -- listed from worst to best. The nationwide percentage is 56.8%.

  1. McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, Texas:  45.7%
  2. Montgomery, Ala.: 52.7%
  3. Bakersfield, Calif.: 53.1%
  4. Stockton, Calif.: 54.8%
  5. Flint, Mich.: 56.4%
  6. Visalia/Porterville, Calif.: 56.6%
  7. Lynchburg, Va.: 56.8%
  8. York/Hanover, Pa.: 59.0%
  9. Huntington/Ashland/ West Va., Ky., Ohio 60.2 %
  10. Kingsport/Bristol Tenn., Va.:  62.2%


Exercising Frequently

Here's a look at the rankings -- from worst to best -- of the percentage of people exercising frequently. The percentage nationwide is 49.9%.

  1. Montgomery, Ala.:  43.3%
  2. Flint, Mich.:  44.5%
  3. McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, Texas: 45.8%
  4. Lynchburg, Va.: 46.1%
  5. Huntington/Ashland, W. Va., Ky., Ohio:   47.7%
  6. York/Hanover, Pa.: 47.8%
  7. Bakersfield, Calif.:  48.4%
  8. Kingsport/Bristol, Tenn., Va.: 48.5%
  9. Visalia/Porterville, Calif.:  49.2%
  10. Stockton, Calif.:  51%

Gallup-Healthways says in a news release that eight of the 10 most obese areas rank in the bottom two-thirds in terms of having easy access to fruits and vegetables and nine rank in the bottom two-thirds for having a safe place to exercise.

Seven of the 10 most obese metro areas rank among the bottom 25 places where residents say there have been times in the past year when they didn't have enough money to buy food for themselves or family members.

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