There are only 10 states in the U.S. that can say less than one-quarter of their residents are obese. That may not be a positive commentary on the state of the waistline in America, 2015. But there may be hope: Hawaiians are apparently doing something worth modeling about obesity.
That’s one of the conclusions that could be drawn from the latest obesity ranking by Gallup, with its partner Healthways. Gallup has been cranking out a ranking of states by the percentage of their citizens who self-report as obese since 2008.
This year’s list is based upon information gathered in 2014.
Overall, the news on American obesity is not good. Since 2008, the national average of obese Americans has gradually risen, until it reached this year’s peak of 27.7 percent.
The national number stood at 25.5 percent in 2008, rose to 26.6 percent by 2010, then actually fell by a few points in 2011 and 2012 before spiking to its current level.
Without further undo ado, here’s this year’s Top 10 Least Obese States:
Obesity rate: 24.9 percent
Obesity rate: 24.8 percent
Minnesotans went from 22 percent to 24.8 percent — the biggest dip within the Top 10.
Obesity rate: 24.7 percent
Obesity rate: 24.6 percent
Obesity rate: 24.2 percent
Nevada and New Mexico fell completely out of the Top 10, making room for snow belt states Idaho and South Dakota. But overall, everyone but Hawaii in the Top 10 either reported a higher index or stayed about the same.
Obesity rate: 24 percent
Obesity rate: 23.9 percent
Obesity rate: 23.5 percent
While the list of states with the highest percentage of obese citizens didn’t change a whole lot between last year and this, the Top 10 Least Obese did. Montanans got a lot heftier, as the percent rose from 19.6 to 23.5, knocking Montana from its No. 1 perch down to No. 3.
Obesity rate: 20.3 percent
“Colorado has consistently had one of the two lowest obesity rates each year since 2008,” Gallup reported. “In addition to Colorado, three states — California, Massachusetts and Connecticut — have been among the 10 states with the lowest obesity rates since 2008.”
Obesity rate: 19 percent
This year, something almost unprecedented happened, when Hawaii vaulted up the list from No. 9 in 2013 to No. 1 this year. According to Gallup, the percent of Hawaiians who are obese fell from 23.7 percent to 19 percent — 0.6 percent lower than the rate reported by the No. 1 state in 2013, Montana.
Gallup was certainly not celebrating the least-obese list. The fact that most of the Top 10 got more obese this time around, and the national average rose once again, was cause for serious concern.
“The national obesity rate in 2014 was the highest that Gallup and Healthways have measured since starting to track this measure in 2008,” the report said. “In a handful of states, more than a third of the population is obese. Residents in these areas are less likely to eat healthily and exercise, and are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, diabetes, cancer and heart attacks. Obesity-related health problems could drive up healthcare costs and potentially have larger economic implications for states that suffer most.”