Personal Health

The Top 10 Fattest Cities in America

Americans are growing increasingly overweight and obese, particularly in these metro areas.

The whole world is getting fatter. One 2015 study, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, found that an astounding 2 billion people around the globe are either overweight or obese, and that figure just keeps climbing. While the United States has been unseated as the world’s fattest country, we’re still home to 13 percent of the world’s fat population, despite making up less than 5 percent of the world’s total citizenry. (Taken together, China and India, the world’s most populous countries with a combined total of 37 percent of the world’s people, just pass us with 15 percent of the globe’s fat population.)

We’ve known this for a while, but apparently, we’re still just getting fatter. One study last year found that two-thirds of American adults qualify as either overweight or obese. That’s 75 percent of men and 67 percent of women age 25 and up. Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh—who really has no room at all to talk—complain about efforts like Michelle Obama’s “Get Moving” campaign to curb childhood obesity, because every time an American sheds a pound, a bald eagle dies or something. But the Centers for Disease Control reports that half of American adults have chronic disease related to obesity, such as heart disease and diabetes. Considering that those kinds of health problems cost taxpayers an estimated $147 billion to $210 billion, you’d think the anti-IRS party would be all for watching our weight.

To get a better picture of where, precisely, the obesity epidemic is most out of control, WalletHub recently compiled a list of America’s fattest major cities. They looked beyond just the number of overweight and obese adults, teens and kids, and made their assessments also taking into consideration the prevalence of weight-related health problems and healthy environment factors—meaning access to healthy food and how active people’s lifestyles are. The results offer a look at the country’s 10 fattest metro areas, all of which are located in the South.

Fattest Metro Areas  

  1. Memphis, TN  
  2. Shreveport, LA  
  3. Indianapolis, IN  
  4. Jackson, MS  
  5. New Orleans, LA  
  6. Chattanooga, TN  
  7. Mobile, AL  
  8. San Antonio, TX  
  9. Greenville, SC  
  10. Little Rock, AR

In case you're wondering, here's where the slimmest Americans live.

Thinnest Metro Areas

91. Tucson, AZ

92. Denver, CO

93. Colorado Springs, CO

94. San Francisco, CA

95. Boston, MA

96. Sacramento, CA

97. Las Vegas, NV

98. Boise, ID

99. Reno, NV

100. Honolulu, HI

A few more findings from their research:

  • The Memphis, TN-MS-AR, metro area has the highest percentage of obese adults, 36.8 percent, which is two times higher than in San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, the metro area with the lowest, 18.9 percent.
  • The Memphis, TN-MS-AR, metro area has the highest percentage of physically inactive adults, 34.7 percent, which is three times higher than in San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, the metro area with the lowest, 14.1 percent.
  • The Canton-Massillon, OH, metro area has the highest percentage of diabetic adults, 15.4 percent, which is three times higher than in Provo-Orem, UT, the metro area with the lowest, 5.0 percent.
  • The Mobile, AL, metro area has the highest percentage of adults with high blood pressure, 42.5 percent, which is two times higher than in Provo-Urem, UT, the metro area with the lowest, 19.5 percent.

And a bit more, if you’re interested:

To see where your city ranks, visit WalletHub

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

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