America's Most Obese Metropolitan Areas
Montgomery, Ala., and Stockton, Calif., Share the 'Honor' of Most Obese Metro Area
WebMD News Archive
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.
- (tie) Montgomery, Ala., and Stockton, Calif.: 34.6%
- Visalia/Porterville, Calif.: 34.1%
- York/Hanover, Pa.: 34%
- Flint, Mich.: 33.9%
- McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, Texas: 33.7%
- Bakersfield, Calif.: 33.6%
- (tie) Lynchburg, Va., and Huntington/Ashland, West Va., Ky., Ohio: 33%
- Kingsport/Bristol, Tenn., Va.: 32.9%
Eating Fruits and Veggies
The latest Well-Being Index also examines factors that are linked to
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%.
- McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, Texas: 45.7%
- Montgomery, Ala.: 52.7%
- Bakersfield, Calif.: 53.1%
- Stockton, Calif.: 54.8%
- Flint, Mich.: 56.4%
- Visalia/Porterville, Calif.: 56.6%
- Lynchburg, Va.: 56.8%
- York/Hanover, Pa.: 59.0%
- Huntington/Ashland/ West Va., Ky., Ohio 60.2 %
- Kingsport/Bristol Tenn., Va.: 62.2%
Here's a look at the rankings -- from worst to best -- of the percentage of
people exercising frequently. The percentage nationwide is 49.9%.
- Montgomery, Ala.: 43.3%
- Flint, Mich.: 44.5%
- McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, Texas: 45.8%
- Lynchburg, Va.: 46.1%
- Huntington/Ashland, W. Va., Ky., Ohio: 47.7%
- York/Hanover, Pa.: 47.8%
- Bakersfield, Calif.: 48.4%
- Kingsport/Bristol, Tenn., Va.: 48.5%
- Visalia/Porterville, Calif.: 49.2%
- 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
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.
Obesity's Link to Health Problems
The researchers note that obesity often is a precursor to chronic health
problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart
attack. These conditions were included in the Gallup-Healthways physical health
The report also finds that:
- Each of the 10 most obese metro areas are in the bottom two-thirds of all
places in terms of diabetes.
- The Huntington/Ashland areas of West Va., Kentucky, and Ohio, with
Montgomery, Ala., and the Kingsport/Bristol area on the Tennessee-Virginia line
are in the bottom 10 among all metro areas surveyed in regard to blood
pressure, with rates nearly 10 percentage points above the national
- Huntington and Kingsport, along with Lynchburg, are in the bottom 10 for
- Huntington and Kingsport are among the bottom 10 for heart attacks, with
rates almost twice the national average.
- Four of the 10 most obese areas are in the top third among all metro areas
for not smoking, but the other six rank in the bottom two-thirds.
The Gallup-Wellbeing report is based on telephone interviews with more than
353,000 adults 18 and over between Jan. 2, 2009, and Dec. 29, 2009. It has a
margin of sampling error of 0.2 percentage points.