These Are the Fattest and Slimmest States in the U.S.

The "fatness" of each state has been revealed in a report compiled by WalletHub, a personal finance website. States in the southeast dominated the list, with Mississippi coming in first place with West Virginia and Kentucky in second and third, respectively.

Utah was ranked the "least fat," while people in the state of Louisiana are most likely to skimp on fruit and vegetables.

According to WalletHub, the five states with the highest percentage of obese adults (defined as those with a BMI above 30) were West Virginia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama and Iowa. Colorado had the lowest percentage of obese adults, followed by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, California and Montana.

This reflects the latest numbers published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which show Colorado, Hawaii and the District of Columbia are the only U.S. states and territory to have fewer than one-in-four adults with obesity.

obesity rates us 2018
A map of the U.S. based on self-reported obesity rates collected by the CDC CDC

California, Montana and 15 other states in the west and northwest (plus Guam) were found to have self-reported obesity levels between 25 and 30 percent. While 9 states (including West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Iowa) had self-reported obesity levels above 35 percent.

Despite coming in third place in WalletHub's report, the CDC found Oklahoma has a self-reported obesity rate between 30 and 35 percent.

According to the CDC, there are no states or U.S. territories with adult self-reported obesity rates below 20 percent.

obesity rates us 2011
Self-reported obesity rates in the U.S. have risen since 2011. Nine years ago, no states had levels above 35 percent. CDC

WalletHub's list was created using data from various government and academic sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative and the CDC.

States were measured across 29 key metrics, from sugary beverage consumption to obesity-related healthcare costs and heart disease rates, across three dimensions—obesity and overweight prevalence, health consequences and food and fitness.

Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale and weighted so that factors such as the percentage share of obese adults and the percentage share of obese children were ranked higher than the number of fast-food restaurants per capita and share of adults with hypertension.

When these metrics were combined, WalletHub ranked the top ten "fattest" states in descending order as Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Delaware and Ohio.

At the other end of the table, Utah was rated the "least fat," followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, Minnesota, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Alaska and Washington.

The report suggests Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas are the most inactive states, while Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have the highest number of adults who eat fewer than one serving of fruit or vegetables a day.

Obesity is complex caused by a variety of factors, including medication intake and genetics. Lifestyle behaviors, including diet, exercise and sleep quality, all play an important role in managing and contributing to weight gain.

Data collected by the CDC shows that levels of obesity and the number of people who are overweight (defined as having a BMI over 25) are rising. The percentage of adults aged 20 and above considered overweight or obese has increased from 56 percent (1988-1994) to 72 percent (2015-2016). Obesity on its own affects 39.8 percent of U.S. adults over 20, a figure that is equivalent to 93.3 million people.

Left untreated, obesity can contribute to a number of health conditions, from heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke to poorer mental health, a reduced quality of life and even death.

A study conducted by the Milken Institute in 2018 found that obesity currently costs the country $1.7 trillion ($480.7 billion in healthcare costs and $1.24 trillion in loss to productivity) a year, roughly equivalent to 9.3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.

School Meal of Pizza and Fries
According to the CDC, obesity affects 18.5 percent (13.7 million) children aged 2 to 19. Pictured: Pizza slices and french fries are seen as they are served during lunch at a Florida high school. Joe Raedle/Getty

What is your state's favorite comfort food?

On a lighter note, WalletHub's report also revealed each state's comfort food of choice—as well as the average calorie count per serving.

It found snack with the highest calorie count was Wisconsin favorite fried cheese curds, which is (as the name suggests) cheese deep-fried in beer batter. According to the report, one serving will set you back 1,190 calories—more than half the daily recommended intake for women.

While the report doesn't specify how it calculated these calories, according to Calorieking.com, a portion of fried Wisconsin cheese curds at BJ's restaurant comes close to 1,100 calories. Another portion of fried cheese curds listed on the website has 669 calories.

WalletHub ranks Nevada's hotel buffets and Kentucky's hot browns—an open sandwich made with turkey and Mornay sauce—second and third place respectively, with 1,000 calories and 951 calories.

Hawaii's ahi tuna poke (262 calories), California's fish tacos (244 calories) and Massachusetts clam chowder (201) were at the lighter end of the calorie spectrum, the report found.

These Are the Fattest and Slimmest States in the U.S. | Health