Massachusetts Is the 48th-Fattest State in the Country (Again)
“‘Fat’ may be the new normal in America,” begins a depressing new report from WalletHub. “America’s weight problem has grown dramatically.”
Sadly, WalletHub isn’t wrong. According to the CDC, nearly 40 percent of adult Americans are obese, and a sobering 70 percent are either overweight or obese. But if there’s any silver lining to all this, it’s that WalletHub’s research suggests “fat” may not be quite as normal in Massachusetts.
According to the company’s annual Fattest States in America ranking, Massachusetts is the 48th-fattest state in the country (read: the fourth-thinnest), a repeat performance that puts us markedly ahead of most parts of the country. We finished behind Utah, Colorado, and New Jersey, while Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas were named the three fattest states.
The ranking analyzed 17 metrics of health, including each state’s child and adult obesity and overweight rates, physical activity patterns, dietary habits, rates of chronic conditions, and more. Caroline Apovian, of Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, contributed to the report. Here’s what we learned about Massachusetts:
- We have the fourth-lowest rate of adult obesity, behind Colorado, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C.
- We fared second-best in the “unhealthy habits and consequences,” section, which looked at factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, and dietary habits.
- We also took second-best in the “food and fitness” category, which ranked states based on healthy food access, fitness centers per capita, and fast food restaurants per capita.
Keep in mind that Massachusetts’ adult obesity rate, despite being among the lowest in the United States, still hovers somewhere around 25 percent. So while we have every right to celebrate our healthy habits and rankings dominance—in everything from active living to hospital safety—remember that this is a problem we struggle with as a country, not just from one state to another.