Special Report

States With The Best and Worst Diets

21. Nevada
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
79.2% (14th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 64.4% (11th highest)
> Obesity rate: 26.2% (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.2% (23rd highest)

Nevada’s adults appear to eat significantly healthier than its youth. About 64% of Nevadans 18 older and eat fruit daily, the 11th largest share in the country. On the other hand, 58.8% of those in grades 9-12 consume fruit at least once daily, below the corresponding national share of 62.6%. The state ranks middle of the road, but not because residents do not have access to healthy food. Only 2.9% of the population reported very low food security, the lowest share in the country.

22. South Dakota
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
75.5% (16th lowest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 60.7% (24th lowest)
> Obesity rate: 29.9% (21st highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.2% (23rd lowest)

South Dakota residents’ diet is not particularly healthy or unhealthy, relative to all U.S. states. Roughly 61% of the state’s adults eat fruit at least once each day, which is just slightly below the corresponding national share of 62%. High school students in the state do not eat especially health or unhealthy diets compared to high schoolers in all U.S. states, with 63.1% of those in grades 9-12 eating at least one fruit every day, close to the national proportion of 62.6%. South Dakota’s obesity rate is also roughly aligned with the nation, with 29.9% of the state’s adults living with obesity compared to 28.3% of adults nationwide who do.

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23. Illinois
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
76.0% (20th lowest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 63.3% (16th highest)
> Obesity rate: 29.4% (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.4% (25th lowest)

Sugary beverages are one of the leading causes of obesity, and a smaller share Illinois residents drink soda, compared to the national average share. Some 22.0% of state high school students report drinking at least one soda a day compared to 27.0% of students nationwide. The state has a tax on both soda sold in stores and in vending machines, which may have helped lower the consumption of soda. The state is more closely aligned with the nation in fruit and vegetable consumption. Illinois’s obesity rate is also roughly inline with the national rate, with 29.4% of the state’s adults living with obesity compared to 28.3% of adults nationwide who live with obesity.

24. Michigan
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
75.2% (14th lowest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 62.3% (19th highest)
> Obesity rate: 31.5% (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.2% (18th highest)

Michigan residents’ diet, on average, is aligned with the nation as a whole. Roughly 62% of the state’s adults eat fruit at least once each day, which is roughly in line with the nation as a whole. Residents also eat vegetables at a rate similar to the national rate. Students, too, eat an average diet, with 60.3% of those in grades 9-12 consuming vegetables less than once daily, close to the corresponding national share of 62.6%.

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25. Arizona
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
76.2% (21st lowest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 60.5% (22nd lowest)
> Obesity rate: 26.8% (17th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 18.2% (10th highest)

Arizona’s population ranks 25th in the country for healthy eating. This is unusual, given the difficulty the state’s families have affording healthy food. Nearly 20% of the state’s population lives with food insecurity, meaning they are forced to limit their diet choices because of a lack of income, the second worst rate in the country. The incidence of even more severe food insecurity is also high in the state, as more than 8% of Arizona’s families eat less due to budgetary constraints, the worst rate in the United States.

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