The Laziest City in Every State

May 15, 2019 by Steven M. Peters

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Obesity has been considered an epidemic in the United States for years. The share of adults considered obese has been steadily increasing, reaching almost 40% in 2016, up from just 15% in 1990. While some factors that contribute to the condition are out of a person’s control, such as genetics, others, such as leading an active lifestyle, can be improved by personal choice.

Not even a third of American adults exercise on a regular basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just about 23% meet the federal guidelines for aerobic activity and strength training. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate to intense exercise — about 20 to 40 minutes a day.

To determine the metropolitan area in each state where residents are getting the least exercise, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the 2019 County Health Rankings on adults who are physically active and the percentage of the population with access to a location appropriate for exercise.

About 22.0% of Americans report that they do not get any physical activity in their leisure time, according to the Country Health Ranking. But exercising trends vary considerably across the country. In some states, even in their least active city, a higher share of adults get exercise than the average share nationwide. (Nationwide, these are the 50 cities where people exercise the most.)

Click here to see where people in every state exercise the least

Exercise has been shown to be a crucial factor in maintaining a healthy weight as it helps lose body fat and build muscle tissue. Physical activity is also linked to better quality of life as well as living longer. Some research shows that even just 15 minutes a day provide benefits, including lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some common types of cancer.

The cities where a significant share of the population reports no leisure physical activity are not evenly distributed across the United States — 11 of the top 15 states where most people are not exercising are in the South. Mississippi and Arkansas are the two states in which adults exercised the least — more than 30% of adults in each state get no physical activity.

The state in which adults exercise the most is Colorado. The percentage of adults who don’t exercise in Oregon, Utah, Washington, and California — all Western states — is also significantly lower than the U.S. average. The share of sedentary adults in each of those states is less than 15%.

Consistent lack of exercise plays a role in certain unhealthy outcomes. Of the 15 states where adults get the least exercise, 12 are also among the states with the highest adult obesity rate, and 11 rank among the 15 states where the highest share of adults report being in fair or poor health.

Methodology

To identify the cities getting the least exercise, 24/7 Tempo created an index of two measures: the share of adults in a metro area who are not exercising during their leisure time, and the share of the population who doesn’t live reasonably close to a location for physical activity. Information on leisure time physical activity, access to exercise locations, obesity rate, and adults who report being in fair or poor health comes from the 2019 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Population figures come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Source: Mike Kalasnik from Fort Mill, USA / Wikimedia Commons

Alabama: Gadsden
> Adults who report not exercising: 33.4% (Alabama: 28.2%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 54.8% (Alabama: 61.6%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 23.0% (Alabama: 21.4%)
> Adult obesity rate: 36.1% (Alabama: 35.1%)
> Population: 102,755

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Alaska: Fairbanks
> Adults who report not exercising: 16.7% (Alaska: 18.8%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 24.6% (Alaska: 82.2%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 13.2% (Alaska: 13.4%)
> Adult obesity rate: 29.4% (Alaska: 30.4%)
> Population: 99,703

Source: Aran Johnson / Wikimedia Commons

Arizona: Lake Havasu City-Kingman
> Adults who report not exercising: 30.4% (Arizona: 20.2%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 34.4% (Arizona: 85.8%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 20.9% (Arizona: 17.8%)
> Adult obesity rate: 31.9% (Arizona: 27.2%)
> Population: 207,200

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Arkansas: Pine Bluff
> Adults who report not exercising: 33.9% (Arkansas: 31.2%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 52.8% (Arkansas: 64.6%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 25.7% (Arkansas: 24.5%)
> Adult obesity rate: 40.1% (Arkansas: 35.2%)
> Population: 89,998

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California: Hanford-Corcoran
> Adults who report not exercising: 17.4% (California: 17.4%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 57.4% (California: 92.9%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 21.7% (California: 17.5%)
> Adult obesity rate: 24.0% (California: 22.7%)
> Population: 150,101

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Colorado: Pueblo
> Adults who report not exercising: 19.8% (Colorado: 14.0%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 31.9% (Colorado: 90.6%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 22.1% (Colorado: 14.3%)
> Adult obesity rate: 28.0% (Colorado: 21.0%)
> Population: 166,475

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Connecticut: Norwich-New London
> Adults who report not exercising: 20.0% (Connecticut: 19.3%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 7.1% (Connecticut: 93.6%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 12.1% (Connecticut: 13.8%)
> Adult obesity rate: 29.6% (Connecticut: 25.5%)
> Population: 269,033

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Delaware: Dover
> Adults who report not exercising: 29.5% (Delaware: 25.4%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 40.0% (Delaware: 84.7%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 16.9% (Delaware: 15.8%)
> Adult obesity rate: 33.8% (Delaware: 30.6%)
> Population: 176,824

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Florida: Panama City
> Adults who report not exercising: 30.9% (Florida: 24.7%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 29.7% (Florida: 87.9%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 18.9% (Florida: 18.5%)
> Adult obesity rate: 30.0% (Florida: 26.5%)
> Population: 202,236

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Georgia: Hinesville
> Adults who report not exercising: 26.9% (Georgia: 24.3%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 39.9% (Georgia: 76.0%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 20.0% (Georgia: 18.8%)
> Adult obesity rate: 35.8% (Georgia: 30.3%)
> Population: 81,044

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Hawaii: Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina
> Adults who report not exercising: 18.8% (Hawaii: 19.8%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 12.8% (Hawaii: 91.5%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 12.8% (Hawaii: 14.0%)
> Adult obesity rate: 23.2% (Hawaii: 23.1%)
> Population: 166,348

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Idaho: Lewiston
> Adults who report not exercising: 21.7% (Idaho: 19.0%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 26.1% (Idaho: 78.2%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 14.7% (Idaho: 15.3%)
> Adult obesity rate: 31.9% (Idaho: 28.3%)
> Population: 62,921

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Illinois: Danville
> Adults who report not exercising: 27.9% (Illinois: 21.5%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 24.8% (Illinois: 90.8%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 18.9% (Illinois: 17.2%)
> Adult obesity rate: 35.3% (Illinois: 28.7%)
> Population: 77,909

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Indiana: Kokomo
> Adults who report not exercising: 27.8% (Indiana: 25.1%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 34.8% (Indiana: 75.3%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 17.8% (Indiana: 17.7%)
> Adult obesity rate: 32.9% (Indiana: 32.8%)
> Population: 82,363

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Iowa: Sioux City
> Adults who report not exercising: 26.6% (Iowa: 23.0%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 11.5% (Iowa: 82.8%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 15.5% (Iowa: 13.1%)
> Adult obesity rate: 35.7% (Iowa: 32.2%)
> Population: 169,131

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Kansas: Wichita
> Adults who report not exercising: 24.5% (Kansas: 23.5%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 17.5% (Kansas: 80.4%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 14.8% (Kansas: 15.0%)
> Adult obesity rate: 33.9% (Kansas: 33.2%)
> Population: 646,542

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Kentucky: Elizabethtown-Fort Knox
> Adults who report not exercising: 27.2% (Kentucky: 27.4%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 46.1% (Kentucky: 71.0%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 19.5% (Kentucky: 21.3%)
> Adult obesity rate: 35.8% (Kentucky: 34.2%)
> Population: 149,813

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Louisiana: Hammond
> Adults who report not exercising: 33.8% (Louisiana: 28.5%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 28.9% (Louisiana: 74.7%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 19.7% (Louisiana: 21.1%)
> Adult obesity rate: 38.5% (Louisiana: 35.3%)
> Population: 132,497

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Maine: Bangor
> Adults who report not exercising: 21.7% (Maine: 20.2%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 33.6% (Maine: 70.0%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 14.2% (Maine: 15.4%)
> Adult obesity rate: 31.9% (Maine: 29.4%)
> Population: 151,957

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Maryland: Hagerstown-Martinsburg
> Adults who report not exercising: 26.6% (Maryland: 21.0%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 37.8% (Maryland: 92.4%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 17.8% (Maryland: 13.9%)
> Adult obesity rate: 34.9% (Maryland: 30.3%)
> Population: 265,498

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Massachusetts: Pittsfield
> Adults who report not exercising: 20.5% (Massachusetts: 19.9%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 13.2% (Massachusetts: 94.0%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 13.7% (Massachusetts: 13.8%)
> Adult obesity rate: 24.5% (Massachusetts: 24.4%)
> Population: 126,313

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Michigan: Monroe
> Adults who report not exercising: 27.6% (Michigan: 22.3%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 18.2% (Michigan: 85.4%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 13.7% (Michigan: 17.4%)
> Adult obesity rate: 37.2% (Michigan: 31.7%)
> Population: 149,649

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Minnesota: St. Cloud
> Adults who report not exercising: 19.2% (Minnesota: 18.5%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 24.2% (Minnesota: 87.2%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 12.6% (Minnesota: 12.0%)
> Adult obesity rate: 28.7% (Minnesota: 27.6%)
> Population: 197,759

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Mississippi: Jackson
> Adults who report not exercising: 29.8% (Mississippi: 31.3%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 33.1% (Mississippi: 55.5%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 19.5% (Mississippi: 22.2%)
> Adult obesity rate: 36.1% (Mississippi: 36.5%)
> Population: 578,794

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Missouri: Joplin
> Adults who report not exercising: 26.5% (Missouri: 25.0%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 35.3% (Missouri: 76.3%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 19.6% (Missouri: 18.5%)
> Adult obesity rate: 35.4% (Missouri: 32.2%)
> Population: 178,507

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Montana: Billings
> Adults who report not exercising: 20.7% (Montana: 19.6%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 19.3% (Montana: 74.6%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 13.8% (Montana: 13.9%)
> Adult obesity rate: 27.1% (Montana: 25.4%)
> Population: 172,081

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Nebraska: Grand Island
> Adults who report not exercising: 26.1% (Nebraska: 22.0%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 21.0% (Nebraska: 83.5%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 14.4% (Nebraska: 14.2%)
> Adult obesity rate: 33.2% (Nebraska: 31.2%)
> Population: 85,936

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Nevada: Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise
> Adults who report not exercising: 22.5% (Nevada: 21.7%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 26.7% (Nevada: 73.4%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 18.6% (Nevada: 20.5%)
> Adult obesity rate: 26.8% (Nevada: 26.5%)
> Population: 2,204,079

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New Hampshire: Manchester-Nashua
> Adults who report not exercising: 20.2% (New Hampshire: 20.0%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 9.7% (New Hampshire: 87.5%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 12.6% (New Hampshire: 13.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 28.2% (New Hampshire: 28.0%)
> Population: 409,697

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New Jersey: Vineland-Bridgeton
> Adults who report not exercising: 30.2% (New Jersey: 23.6%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 16.4% (New Jersey: 94.5%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 23.2% (New Jersey: 16.5%)
> Adult obesity rate: 35.1% (New Jersey: 26.2%)
> Population: 152,538

Source: Christopher Nicol / Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico: Farmington
> Adults who report not exercising: 22.5% (New Mexico: 18.2%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 45.0% (New Mexico: 76.9%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 19.3% (New Mexico: 20.8%)
> Adult obesity rate: 32.8% (New Mexico: 25.6%)
> Population: 126,926

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New York: Watertown-Fort Drum
> Adults who report not exercising: 28.8% (New York: 24.5%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 41.9% (New York: 92.9%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 17.5% (New York: 16.1%)
> Adult obesity rate: 32.5% (New York: 25.7%)
> Population: 114,187

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North Carolina: Goldsboro
> Adults who report not exercising: 28.2% (North Carolina: 23.0%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 52.5% (North Carolina: 73.4%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 21.0% (North Carolina: 17.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 34.6% (North Carolina: 30.2%)
> Population: 124,172

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North Dakota: Grand Forks
> Adults who report not exercising: 22.5% (North Dakota: 21.6%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 21.9% (North Dakota: 74.2%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 14.1% (North Dakota: 14.3%)
> Adult obesity rate: 32.8% (North Dakota: 32.2%)
> Population: 102,414

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Ohio: Mansfield
> Adults who report not exercising: 29.4% (Ohio: 24.6%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 22.9% (Ohio: 84.1%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 19.0% (Ohio: 17.0%)
> Adult obesity rate: 31.0% (Ohio: 31.8%)
> Population: 120,589

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Oklahoma: Lawton
> Adults who report not exercising: 29.8% (Oklahoma: 28.4%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 34.4% (Oklahoma: 71.6%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 19.5% (Oklahoma: 19.6%)
> Adult obesity rate: 32.8% (Oklahoma: 33.3%)
> Population: 127,735

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Oregon: Albany
> Adults who report not exercising: 20.0% (Oregon: 15.2%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 23.4% (Oregon: 88.3%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 15.3% (Oregon: 15.8%)
> Adult obesity rate: 35.4% (Oregon: 28.3%)
> Population: 125,047

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Pennsylvania: Williamsport
> Adults who report not exercising: 26.8% (Pennsylvania: 22.4%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 46.0% (Pennsylvania: 84.3%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 15.6% (Pennsylvania: 15.1%)
> Adult obesity rate: 37.0% (Pennsylvania: 29.9%)
> Population: 113,841

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Rhode Island: Providence-Warwick
> Adults who report not exercising: 23.6% (Rhode Island: 23.4%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 6.3% (Rhode Island: 94.9%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 14.5% (Rhode Island: 14.8%)
> Adult obesity rate: 27.6% (Rhode Island: 27.0%)
> Population: 1,621,122

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> Adults who report not exercising: 29.8% (South Carolina: 24.7%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 40.1% (South Carolina: 68.7%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 21.6% (South Carolina: 19.1%)
> Adult obesity rate: 36.6% (South Carolina: 32.4%)
> Population: 205,831

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

South Dakota: Sioux Falls
> Adults who report not exercising: 19.1% (South Dakota: 19.9%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 16.5% (South Dakota: 71.8%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 10.0% (South Dakota: 11.8%)
> Adult obesity rate: 31.3% (South Dakota: 31.1%)
> Population: 259,650

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Tennessee: Morristown
> Adults who report not exercising: 31.6% (Tennessee: 26.7%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 33.8% (Tennessee: 70.6%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 20.5% (Tennessee: 19.1%)
> Adult obesity rate: 33.7% (Tennessee: 33.0%)
> Population: 118,081

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Texas: Texarkana
> Adults who report not exercising: 33.0% (Texas: 22.8%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 48.1% (Texas: 80.3%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 20.0% (Texas: 18.2%)
> Adult obesity rate: 37.4% (Texas: 29.0%)
> Population: 152,188

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Utah: St. George
> Adults who report not exercising: 17.3% (Utah: 16.1%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 19.3% (Utah: 85.2%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 11.5% (Utah: 12.1%)
> Adult obesity rate: 23.7% (Utah: 25.9%)
> Population: 165,662

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Vermont: Burlington-South Burlington
> Adults who report not exercising: 16.4% (Vermont: 18.6%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 21.9% (Vermont: 75.1%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 10.5% (Vermont: 12.5%)
> Adult obesity rate: 22.6% (Vermont: 25.5%)
> Population: 218,341

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Virginia: Lynchburg
> Adults who report not exercising: 25.4% (Virginia: 21.6%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 39.8% (Virginia: 82.3%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 16.1% (Virginia: 15.9%)
> Adult obesity rate: 31.5% (Virginia: 28.8%)
> Population: 260,116

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Washington: Yakima
> Adults who report not exercising: 22.0% (Washington: 16.4%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 24.7% (Washington: 86.8%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 21.2% (Washington: 13.9%)
> Adult obesity rate: 32.1% (Washington: 27.6%)
> Population: 250,193

Source: Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) / Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia: Beckley
> Adults who report not exercising: 30.3% (West Virginia: 27.8%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 38.1% (West Virginia: 60.4%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 25.2% (West Virginia: 24.1%)
> Adult obesity rate: 39.3% (West Virginia: 36.3%)
> Population: 118,543

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Wisconsin: Wausau
> Adults who report not exercising: 21.6% (Wisconsin: 19.5%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 27.1% (Wisconsin: 85.6%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 11.8% (Wisconsin: 15.4%)
> Adult obesity rate: 32.9% (Wisconsin: 31.1%)
> Population: 135,732

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Wyoming: Cheyenne
> Adults who report not exercising: 22.9% (Wyoming: 23.1%)
> Population with no access to places for exercise: 28.7% (Wyoming: 76.1%)
> Adults who report fair/poor health: 14.6% (Wyoming: 15.1%)
> Adult obesity rate: 30.5% (Wyoming: 28.5%)
> Population: 98,327