The Most Obese County in Every State

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31. New Mexico
> Most obese county:
Lea
> County obesity rate: 34.7%
> Statewide obesity rate: 23.6%
> Pct. of adults who exercise regularly: 67.0%
> Share of adults reporting fair or poor health: 18.9%

Lea County’s 34.7% obesity rate is far higher than both New Mexico’s 23.6% obesity rate and the nation’s 27.0% obesity rate. While recent research has suggested diet to be more important to weight management than exercise, physical activity is still a major insight into the health of a population. In Lea County, just 67% of adults exercise regularly, the smallest share of any Nevada county.

32. New York
> Most obese county:
Chenango
> County obesity rate: 32.8%
> Statewide obesity rate: 24.1%
> Pct. of adults who exercise regularly: 72.8%
> Share of adults reporting fair or poor health: 13.1%

Apart from a high obesity rate, Chenango County is somewhat in line with the rest of New York by many measures of health and wellness. In both the county and statewide, 15.2% of adults smoke and 17.6% drink excessively, each measure slightly below the corresponding national figure. However, the incidence of premature death is higher in the county than it is in the state. Each year an estimated 6,474 years are lost per 100,000 people to preventable causes compared to 5,408 years of life lost per 100,000 New Yorkers.

33. North Carolina
> Most obese county:
Halifax
> County obesity rate: 39.4%
> Statewide obesity rate: 29.1%
> Pct. of adults who exercise regularly: 65.2%
> Share of adults reporting fair or poor health: 23.6%

Poor access to food in Halifax County and poor behaviors among residents may partially explain the area’s high prevalence of obesity. More than 25% of county residents lack a reliable source of healthy food, a much larger share than the 18% of food insecure North Carolinians. Similarly, just 65.2% of Halifax adults exercise regularly, the smallest share of any North Carolina county.

34. North Dakota
> Most obese county:
Rolette
> County obesity rate: 41.1%
> Statewide obesity rate: 30.2%
> Pct. of adults who exercise regularly: 65.9%
> Share of adults reporting fair or poor health: 29.0%

Rolette County is the home of the Turtle Mountain Reservation and its population is more than three-fourths American Indian. Indian reservations often face difficult economic and health problems, and high obesity is one of many health issues in Rolette County. A whopping 37.5% of county adults smoke, the fifth highest smoking rate of any U.S. county. Also, 17.6% of residents lack a reliable source of healthy food — the highest such share in North Dakota.

35. Ohio
> Most obese county:
Lawrence
> County obesity rate: 38.9%
> Statewide obesity rate: 30.5%
> Pct. of adults who exercise regularly: 62.7%
> Share of adults reporting fair or poor health: 18.3%

Although Lawrence County residents have the most access to recreational opportunities of any Ohio county, also exercise the least. Just 62.7% of county adults exercise regularly, a much smaller share than the 73.7% of Ohio adults statewide who do. Lawrence County also has higher shares of adults with diabetes and adults who feel mentally and physically unwell than in Ohio.