A new survey which highlights the continuing national obesity crisis has revealed America’s fattest and thinnest places.
The survey, conducted by Gallup and Healthways between January 2012 and December 2013, found that Huntington-Ashland, a metropolitan area which covers parts of Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, is the nation’s fattest location with 39.5 percent of adults classed as obese, the Daily Mail reported.
Based on a separate survey last month, Huntington was also named the most miserable place in the U.S., in large part due to residents’ poor health. Boulder, Colo., ranked as the thinnest city in the country with just 12.4 percent of the population affected by obesity.
The study found that over 15 percent of adults are obese in all but one of the 189 cities surveyed.
It also found that in 2013, the national obesity rate increased to 27.1 percent, which is the highest since the annual surveys began in 2008.
The surveys were conducted for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which tracks obesity across the nation using Americans’ Body Mass Index scores. The indexes are calculated based on a person’s self-reported height and weight radio, with scores of 30 or above considered obese.
At least 300 cases are required per metro area for reporting, according to USA Today.
The 10 most obese cities (by percentage):
Huntington-Ashland, Oh. (39.5);
McCallen, Texas (38.3);
Haggerstown, Md. (36.7);
Yakima, Wash. (35.7);
Little Rock, Ark. (35.1);
Charlestown, W. Va. (34.6);
Toledo, Ohio (34.2);
Clarksville, Tenn. (33.8);
Jackson, Miss. (33.8); and
Green Bay, Wis. (33.0);
Two other Colorado cities – Denver and Fort Collins – were also ranked in the top 10 communities with the lowest rates of obesity, which Gallup attributes to their “outdoor spaces and activities.”
The 10 least obese cities (by percentage):
Boulder, Colo. (12.4);
Naples, Fla. (16.5);
Fort Collins, Colo. (18.2);
Charlottesville, Va. (18.2);
Bellingham, Wash. (18.7);
San Diego, Calif. (19.3);
Denver, Colo. (19.3);
San Jose, Calif. (19.5);
Bridgeport, Conn. (19.6); and
Barnstable Town, Mass. (19.6).
Organizers of the Gallup poll hope the results raise awareness, and help people lead healthier lifestyles to reduce the rate of obesity around the country.
"Rising obesity rates have significant health consequences for both individuals and communities of all sizes. Numerous social, environmental, economic, and individual factors may all contribute to physical inactivity and consumption of less healthy foods, two lifestyle behaviors linked to obesity," says Janna Lacatell, Healthways Lifestyle Solutions Director. "In order to combat the trend and encourage individuals to make healthier choices, community-based policy and environmental approaches can, and should, be used."