Special Report

States With The Best and Worst Diets

1. California
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
82.7% (4th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 69.6% (the highest)
> Obesity rate: 24.1% (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.4% (17th highest)

On the whole, California’s population eats better than the population of every other state. Nearly 70% of the state’s adult population eats fruit at least once each day, the highest proportion nationwide, and much higher than the 61.5% of adults nationwide who do. Also, 82.7% of California adults consume vegetables once daily, the fourth highest percentage in the nation. Healthy eating is considered essential to maintaining healthy weight. Not surprisingly, only 24.1% of the state’s adults are obese, well below the national adult obesity rate of 28.3%. Higher-income states tend to be healthier on the whole, and California is no exception. The typical household earns $61,933 a year, $8,276 more than the national median income.

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2. Vermont
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
83.5% (2nd highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 67.2% (2nd highest)
> Obesity rate: 24.7% (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (15th lowest)

Vermont residents have among the healthiest diets in the country. Around 67% of the state’s adult population eats fruit at least once each day, and 83.5% of Vermont adults consume vegetables once daily, much lower than the respective national proportions of 61.5% and 77.6%. Healthy eating is considered essential to maintaining healthy weight. Not surprisingly, only 24.7% of the state’s adults are obese, well below the national adult obesity rate of 28.3%. The presence of farmer’s markets may also play a partial role. There are 15 farmer’s markets per 100,000 Vermont residents, the highest concentration nationwide.

3. Oregon
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
83.7% (the highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 66.6% (4th highest)
> Obesity rate: 26.5% (15th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.6% (14th highest)

Oregon residents have among the healthiest diets in the country. Only 66.6% of the state’s adult population eats fruit at least once each day compared to 61.5% of adults nationwide who do not. In addition, 83.7% of Oregon adults consume vegetables at least once daily, the highest proportion of all states and significantly higher than the national proportion of 77.6%. Healthy exercise habits are more common in states where residents report healthy diets, and Oregon is a notable example. While 26.3% of adults nationwide report no leisure time physical activity, just 18.5% of Oregon adults report such low levels of exercise, the second lowest share nationwide.

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4. New Hampshire
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
83.2% (3rd highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 66.2% (6th highest)
> Obesity rate: 26.7% (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.2% (the lowest)

New Hampshire residents have among the healthiest diets in the country. For example, 83.2% of New Hampshire adults consume vegetables at least once daily, significantly higher than the 77.6% of adults nationwide who report similar vegetable consumption. The state’s students also eat better than students in most states. High income states tend to be healthier on the whole, and New Hampshire is no exception. The typical household earns $66,532 a year, $12,875 more than the national median income. New Hampshire’s poverty rate, at just 9.2%, is also the lowest of all states.

5. Utah
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
79.6% (11th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 63.5% (14th highest)
> Obesity rate: 24.1% (5th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.7% (11th lowest)

On the whole, Utah’s population eats better than the population of all but a few states. Excessive consumption of sugary beverages does not appear to be a problem in Utah, for example. Only 13.5% of Utah high school students drink at least one soda each day, significantly below the national share of 27% of 9th-12th graders who report such soda consumption. Healthy eating is considered essential to maintaining healthy weight. Not surprisingly, only 24.1% of the state’s adults are obese, well below the national adult obesity rate of 28.3%. Higher-income states also tend to be healthier on the whole, and Utah is no exception. Utah’s annual median household income of $60,922 is $7,265 greater than the national median income.

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