Special Report

The Most Obese City in Every State

Obesity has been a major health problem in the United States for decades, and it’s only getting worse. The prevalence of obesity in 2018 was 42.4%, up from 30.5% in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Almost half of adults in the U.S. are projected to be obese by 2030, according to estimates published in December 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Nearly one in four people will be morbidly obese, meaning carrying about 100 pounds over one’s normal body weight.  

Health experts have pointed out several lifestyle factors contributing to the excess weight problem, among them a sedentary lifestyle and the consumption of high-calorie diets, including large sugary beverages — here are 45 popular fast-food single items with more than 1,000 calories.

24/7 Tempo analyzed county-level data from the 2020 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report (CHR) to determine the most obese city in every state. We aggregated county-level statistics to metropolitan statistical areas. 

Low income may be one factor that accounts for the high obesity rate in some metro areas. People with lower incomes are less able to afford a healthy lifestyle and have less access to healthy foods or gyms. Only 11 of the cities with the highest obesity rates on this list have a poverty rate lower than that of their respective state.

Though the underlying causes of obesity are many, some within one’s control and others, like genetics, not, the health outcomes of being obese are clearer. One of them is diabetes. All but five of the most obese cities on our list have an adult diabetes rate lower than the statewide rate. Click here for 10 warning signs you may have diabetes.

Even in the states where cities have the lowest obesity rates in the country — such as Colorado and New Mexico — a quarter of the state population is obese.

Click here for the city with the highest obesity rate in every state
Click here to see our detailed methodology