Massachusetts Is the Fourth-Least Obese State in the Nation

According to the latest State of Obesity report, 23 percent of Commonwealth residents are considered obese.

State of Obesity

Credit: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust For America’s Health

Here’s the good news: Massachusetts is the fourth-least obese state in the nation. Now, the bad news: Despite our low ranking, 23 percent of adult Commonwealth residents are considered obese.

These are some of the results from this year’s State of Obesity study, a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust For America’s Health that details weight information across the country. This year’s report, which draws on 2014 data, is sobering—all but five states (Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, California, and Vermont) and the District of Columbia had adult obesity rates of 25 percent or higher, with Arkansas topping the charts at 35.9 percent. Even in the least obese state, Colorado, a little more than a fifth of residents still meet the medical criteria for obesity.

Relatively speaking, New England states did well in the report—none made the top 10, and Vermont and Connecticut were also among the 10 least-obese states. This also isn’t the first time Massachusetts has been highlighted for its attention to weight issues; in 2013, Eastern Massachusetts was recognized for its dropping childhood obesity numbers.

Below, more Massachusetts data from the report:

  • The state’s adult obesity rate has risen from 15.3 percent of residents in 2000 and 10.1 percent in 1990.
  • As of 2014, 34.6 percent of black residents, 31.4 percent of Hispanic residents, and 22.6 percent of white residents are considered obese.
  • Massachusetts is 28th in the nation for adult diabetes, with 9.7 percent of the population developing the disease.
  • As of 2011, 14.5 percent of 10- to 17-year-olds in Massachusetts are considered obese; as of 2013, 10.2 percent of local high school students are considered obese.
  • Men are slightly more likely to be obese than women in Massachusetts, with percentages of 24.7 percent and 21.2 percent, respectively, as of 2012.