Special Report

States With The Best and Worst Diets

26. New Mexico
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
78.5% (19th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 60.8% (25th highest)
> Obesity rate: 26.4% (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 21.3% (2nd highest)

New Mexico has the second highest poverty rate in the country, at 21.3%, compared to a national rate of 15.5%. While poverty and unhealthy eating tend to coincide, New Mexico residents’ average diet is not particularly healthy or unhealthy, relative to other state populations. Slightly more than 60% of the state’s adults eat fruit on a daily basis, which is on par with the nation as a whole. New Mexico’s obesity rate is also similar to that of the nation, with 26.4% of the state’s adults living with obesity compared to 28.3% of adults nationwide who do.

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27. Nebraska
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
76.7% (24th lowest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 60.3% (21st lowest)
> Obesity rate: 29.6% (23rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.4% (16th lowest)

Around 60% of Nebraska 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 average rate. Nebraska’s obesity rate is also close to the national rate, with 29.6% of the state’s adults living with obesity compared to 28.3% of adults nationwide who do. Nebraska’s poverty rate of 12.4% is one of the lower rates compared with other states. However, a relatively high proportion of households in the state, 16.7%, report inadequate resources to purchase food, the ninth highest level of food insecurity nationwide.

28. Minnesota
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
76.4% (23rd lowest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 61.8% (22nd highest)
> Obesity rate: 25.5% (10th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.5% (9th lowest)

Approximately 62% of Minnesota 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. A typical household earns $61,481 annually, well above the national median household income of $51,075. While the high incomes do not help improve diets in Minnesota as much as high incomes tend to do elsewhere, the incidence of food insecurity is among the lowest in the country. Just 10.4% of households struggle to afford food in Minnesota, one of the lowest food insecurity rates nationwide.

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29. Hawaii
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
76.9% (25th lowest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 60.8% (25th highest)
> Obesity rate: 21.8% (2nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (7th lowest)

Populations that eat well usually tend to exercise more. Hawaii, however, is an exception to this rule. While both the state’s adults and high school students are far more likely to exercise regularly, the state ranks perfectly neutral compared to national levels in both fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as in soda drinking.

30. Kansas
> Pct. consuming vegetables at least once daily:
77.1% (25th highest)
> Pct. consuming fruit at least once daily: 58.2% (15th lowest)
> Obesity rate: 30.0% (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (21st lowest)

The population of Kansas does not stand out as having healthy or unhealthy diets compared to the rest of the country. Roughly 58% of the state’s adults eat fruit at least once each day, slightly below the national rate of 61.5%. Vegetable consumption among state residents is on par with national consumption levels. Also, the typical Kansas high school student is about as likely to report healthy eating habits as his or her peers nationwide, with 59.5% of those in grades 9-12 consuming fruit once daily, in line with the corresponding national share of 62.6%.

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