States With The Best and Worst Diets

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6. Massachusetts
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
79.9% (9th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 67.2% (2nd highest)
> Obesity rate: 23.6% (3rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.6% (10th lowest)

Massachusetts residents have among the healthiest diets in the country. The healthy eating habits likely contribute to strong health outcomes among state residents. For example, only 23.6% of the state’s adults are obese, well below the national adult obesity rate of 28.3%. The state’s students also eat better and consume sugary drinks less frequently than students in most states. Only 14.2% of students drink at least one soda each day, significantly below the national share of 27% of 9th-12th graders who do. Higher-income states tend to be healthier on the whole, and the high incomes in Massachusetts have likely helped improve health outcomes and diets in the state. The typical household in the state earns $69,160 a year, $15,503 more than the national median income.

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7. Maine
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
82.3% (5th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 66.0% (7th highest)
> Obesity rate: 28.9% (24th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.1% (22nd lowest)

Only a handful of states have a population with healthier eating habits than Maine’s population. About 66.0% of the state’s adults report eating fruit at least once each day compared to 61.5% of adults nationwide. Also, 82.3% of Maine adults consume vegetables at least once daily versus the national proportion of 77.6%. Excessive consumption of sugary beverages does not appear to be a problem in Maine. Only 9.6% of Maine’s households reported being unable to afford healthy food, one of the lowest levels of food insecurity in the nation. This likely contributed to the state’s relatively healthy diet.

8. Connecticut
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
77.8% (23rd highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 66.3% (5th highest)
> Obesity rate: 25.0% (8th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (3rd lowest)

Wealthy Americans tend to report better health outcomes. The typical Connecticut household earns $70,048 a year, the fourth highest annual median household income of all states and $16,391 greater than the national median income. About 66.3% of the state’s adult population reports eating fruit at least once each day versus the comparable national proportion of 61.5%. Excessive consumption of sugary beverages also does not appear to be a problem in Connecticut, as only 13.9% of students drink at least one soda each day, roughly half the national share of 27% of 9th-12th graders who do. As in just a few other states, Connecticut levies a tax on regular soda. A soda tax is one of the most commonly recommended policies by obesity researchers to combat this unhealthy habit, and the tax may have had an effect in the state.

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9. Washington
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
81.8% (6th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 63.4% (15th highest)
> Obesity rate: 27.2% (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (19th lowest)

On the whole, Washington’s population eats better than the population of all but a handful of states. For example, 81.8% of Washington adults consume vegetables at least once daily, versus the 77.6% of adults nationwide who do. Washington households also tend to have higher incomes than households in many other states, and wealthier people frequently eat better. The annual median household income in the state of $61,366 is $7,709 more than the national median income. Healthy eating habits and high incomes are both associated with longer lives, and the incidence of premature death in Washington is below the national average. Each year, an average of 5,506 years of life are lost per 100,000 people due to preventable deaths, one of the lowest such figures nationwide.

10. Colorado
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
80.9% (7th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 64.3% (12th highest)
> Obesity rate: 21.3% (the lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.0% (13th lowest)

Diet has been shown to be by far the most important determinant of physical health, especially obesity, and Colorado is a case in point. Healthy eating habits in Colorado, where residents have among the healthiest diets in the country, have likely contributed to the state’s obesity rate of 21.3% — the lowest in the nation. Nearly 81% of Colorado adults consume vegetables at least once daily, a higher proportion than in all but a handful of states. Higher-income states tend to be healthier on the whole, and Colorado is no exception. The typical household earns $61,303 a year, $7,646 more than the national median income.