Special Report

The Least Obese Metro in Every State

Recent public health crises, namely the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid epidemic, have overshadowed a longer-standing problem in the United States — obesity. Since the early 1960s, the share of American adults under age 75 who are considered obese more than tripled. Currently, an estimated 72.2 million Americans age 20 and up are obese, or 29.7% of the age group. 

Obesity status is determined by body mass index, or BMI — a ratio of height to body weight. Americans with a BMI of 30 or higher are considered obese. Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, stroke, hypertension, heart disease, breathing problems, certain cancers, and mortality, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity can also detract from overall quality of life and contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. 

While the U.S. has one of the highest obesity rates in the world, there are parts of the country where obesity remains relatively uncommon. Using data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, 24/7 Tempo identified the least obese metropolitan area in each state. Four states — Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont — have only one metro area. As a result, these areas rank as the least obese in the state by default only. 

It is important to note that in some states, the metro area with the lowest obesity rate still has a higher obesity rate than the state as a whole. Additionally, in over a dozen states — nearly all of which have higher than average obesity rates — the least obese metro area still has a higher obesity rate than the U.S. as a whole. 

Though many factors, including genetics, diet, and medical conditions, contribute to increased risk of obesity, regular physical activity is one of the best ways to help maintain a healthy weight. Adults residing in most metro areas on this list are more likely to exercise regularly than the typical adult across the state as a whole. Here is a look at the most physically active cities in America. 

Click here to see the least obese metro in every state
Click here to see our detailed methodology