Special Report

States With The Best and Worst Diets

16. Alaska
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
80.8% (8th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 60.3% (21st lowest)
> Obesity rate: 28.4% (23rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (6th lowest)

Unlike most states where residents report relatively healthy diets, Alaska’s obesity rate is not especially low. At 28.4%, it is in line with the national rate. The percentage of adults who are overweight, at 37.2%, is the second highest in the nation. Still, 80.8% of Alaskan adults consume vegetables at least once daily, one of the highest such proportions nationwide. Excessive consumption of sugary beverages also does not appear to be a problem in Alaska. Only 15.8% of state students drink at least one soda each day, significantly below the national share of 27% of 9th-12th graders who do. As is the case in many other states, high incomes in Alaska likely contribute to healthier diets and better health outcomes. The typical household earns $71,583 a year, $17,926 more than the national median income.

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17. Wisconsin
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
74.2% (11th lowest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 62.2% (20th highest)
> Obesity rate: 29.8% (22nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (19th lowest)

Wisconsin’s population has a diet that is not particularly healthy or unhealthy, relative to the populations of all U.S. states. Wisconsin residents have a diet that is aligned with the nation as a whole. Around 62% of the state’s adults eat fruit at least once each day, which is roughly in line with the nation as a whole. Students, however eat a slightly better than average diet, with 67.9% of those in grades 9-12 consuming fruits on a daily basis, compared to the national share of 62.6% of 9th-12th graders who report the same. Wisconsin’s obesity rate is also roughly aligned with the nation, with 29.8% of the state’s adults living with obesity compared to 28.3% of adults nationwide who do.

18. Wyoming
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
79.9% (9th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 59.1% (17th lowest)
> Obesity rate: 27.8% (21st lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (6th lowest)

Wyoming residents have a diet that is aligned with the nation as a whole. Nearly 60% of state adults eat fruit every day, similar to the corresponding national rate of 61.5%. Students also eat an average diet, with 61.2% of Wyoming high school students eating fruit at least once per day, nearly identical to the national share of 62.6%. Healthy eating is essential to maintaining a healthy body weight. Wyoming’s adult obesity rate of 27.8% is also nearly the same as the national adult obesity rate of 28.3%.

19. Maryland
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
78.0% (21st highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 64.1% (13th highest)
> Obesity rate: 28.3% (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.1% (2nd lowest)

Maryland’s adults do not eat particularly well, but they are also not among the least healthy eaters in the country. Young adults, too, eat an average diet, with 62.2% of those in grades 9-12 consuming vegetables at least once daily, in line with the corresponding national share of 61.5%. Obesity rates are closely tied to eating habits. Not surprisingly, Maryland’s obesity rate is also identical to the national rate, with 28.3% of the state’s adults living with obesity compared to 28.3% of adults nationwide who are obese.

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20. Virginia
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
78.6% (16th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 62.6% (17th highest)
> Obesity rate: 27.2% (19th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.8% (12th lowest)

Around 63% of Virginia adults eat fruit at least once daily, a rate roughly in line with the nation as a whole. Residents also eat vegetables at a rate similar to the national average rate. Soda consumption, however, often a clear indicator of obesity, is actually below average in the state. Some 21.7% of state high school students drink soda at least once a day, lower than the 27.0% of 9th-12th graders nationwide who do. While soda consumption is below average, Virginia’s obesity rate is roughly aligned with the nation, with 27.2% of the state’s adults living with obesity compared to 28.3% of adults nationwide who do.

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