Colorado, California Cities Dominate Slimmest Cities List
Healthy Habits Abound in Top 10 Least Obese Cities
March 5, 2010 -- Finally, a top 10 obese list American cities can be proud
to be a part of.
A new ranking of America's least obese cities shows that healthy habits make
for thinner residents in several Colorado and California cities, which dominate
the top 10. Obesity rates in the top 10 least obese cities are an average of
15% lower than rates found in the nation's top 10 obese metropolitan areas and much lower than the
national average of 26.5%.
Here are the top 10 least obese metro areas based on their percentage of
- Fort Collins/Loveland, Colo. (16%)
- Boulder, Colo. (16.6%)
- Barnstable, Mass. (16.9%)
- Colorado Springs, Colo. (17.2%)
- San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles, Calif. (17.6%)
- Reno/Sparks, N.V. (17.7%)
- Santa Cruz/Watsonville, Calif. (17.9%)
- San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, Calif. (19%)
- San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, Calif. (19.2%)
- Denver/Aurora, Colo.* (19.3%) and Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, Conn.*
The list is based on a nationwide Gallup poll conducted in 187 metro areas
in 2009. Researchers calculated the participants' body mass index (BMI) using
their self-reported height and weight. A BMI of 30 or above is considered
Healthy Habits the Norm in Skinny Cities
What's the secret to a skinny city? Healthy eating and exercise habits. The
survey showed that nine out of the 10 least obese cities rank in the top third
of the Gallup-Healthways Healthy Behavior Index. The index measures exercise,
eating, and smoking habits.
Researchers found that most residents of the slimmest cities said they ate
healthy "yesterday," frequently eat fruits and vegetables, and exercise
In fact, half or more of the residents in all of the least obese cities
report exercising for at least 30 minutes three or more days a week. That's in
sharp contrast to the nation's 10 most obese cities, where in all but one less
than half of the residents report exercising that much.
Smoking rates were also lower than the national average in all of the least
obese metropolitan areas.
Access Builds Healthier Cities
Although individual habits play a large role in keeping obesity rates low,
the survey shows community conditions also play a part. Researchers found that
residents in nearly all of the nation's least obese cities report above-average
access to affordable fruits and vegetables, having a safe place to exercise,
having enough money to buy food, and having health insurance.
Those conditions also foster healthier cities. All of the least obese cities
have diabetes levels lower than the national average of 11% and heart attack
rates below the national average of 4.6%.
Here's a snapshot of how the least obese cities fared in terms of physical