Huntington-Ashland-Ironton, a metropolitan area that encompasses parts of three different U.S. states, is the most obese community in America, according to a new Gallup study. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Boulder, Colorado, has been named the nation’s slimmest community for the fifth time in six years.
Huntington-Ashland-Ironton encompasses parts of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, an incredible 39.5 per cent of the adult population living in this area can be considered obese. Rounding out the top three fattest communities: McAllen-Edinbug-Mission, Texas, and Hagerstown-Martinsburg, which straddles the Maryland/West Virginia state boundary.
In Boulder, meanwhile, only 12.4 per cent of the population can be considered overweight. Also looking trim these days: Naples-Marco Island, Florida, and Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado.
Unfortunately, it seems America is increasingly coming to reflect Huntington-Ashland-Ironton rather than healthy Boulder. Gallup says that the United States’ national obesity rate is now above 27 per cent, the highest rate recorded by Gallup since it began tracking obesity back in 2008. Only one of the 189 metropolitan areas studied had an obesity rate below 15 per cent.
It’s a concerning trend that could have enormous consequences, Gallup says. “Rising obesity rates have significant health consequences for both individuals and communities of all sizes,” noted Gallup Healthways Lifestyle Solutions Director, Janna Lacatell.
“In order to combat the trend and encourage individuals to make healthier choices, community-based policy and environmental approaches can, and should, be used.”