Special Report

This Is The Most Obese State in America: All 50 States, Ranked

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Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, ranking as the second most significant preventable cause of death after smoking. Almost 20% of African Americans and Caucasians between the ages of 40 and 85 succumb to obesity-related causes, a rate that continues to rise across different generations. (Here’s a ranking of the states where people live the longest.)

To determine the most obese states, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on obesity from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program’s 2023 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report. States were ranked based on the prevalence of self-reported obesity among adults 20 years and older – with obesity being defined as having a body mass index of 30.0 and above.

Southern states have the highest obesity rates, whereas the lowest rates are found in the West and Northeast regions. In 16 states, a minimum of 35% of adults are obese, and the top three states – Mississippi, West Virginia, and Alabama – have rates that approach nearly 40%.

Click here to see the most obese state in America, out of all 50 states

Beneath the numbers there is an intricate interplay of factors. Inactive routines, poor eating choices, and lack of awareness about the significance of staying physically fit all contribute to this unsettling pattern. (You might be surprised at how long you need to exercise to burn off the calories from your favorite foods.)

Seventeen of the 20 states with the highest obesity rates have a higher share of adults reporting being in poor or fair health than the U.S. as a whole. Additionally, only two of those 20 states report a diabetes rate (slightly) lower than the national rate. 

Several lifestyle factors are likely contributing to the excess weight problem among Americans, including a sedentary lifestyle –  and 17 of the 20 states with the highest adult obesity rate report a lower share of adults exercising than the national share.

Methodology

To determine the most obese states, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on obesity from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program’s 2023 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report. States were ranked based on the prevalence of self-reported obesity among adults 20 years and older – with obesity being defined as having a body mass index of 30.0 and above. Supplemental data on the percentage of adults 18 and over who report no regular leisure time activity (including exercise), the percentage of adults 20 and above with diagnosed diabetes, and the percentage of adults 18 and over who report fewer than seven hours of sleep on average also came from the CHR.

50. Colorado
> Adult obesity rate: 24.20%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 16.50% — 2nd lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 7.00% — 3rd lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.20% — 3rd lowest

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49. Massachusetts
> Adult obesity rate: 24.50%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 19.40% — 10th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 7.70% — 8th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.80% — 9th lowest

48. Hawaii
> Adult obesity rate: 25.00%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 18.40% — 7th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.40% — 24th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.30% — 4th lowest

47. Vermont
> Adult obesity rate: 26.30%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 17.10% — 3rd lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 6.70% — the lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.60% — 7th lowest

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46. New York
> Adult obesity rate: 26.50%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 25.20% — 12th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.10% — 22nd lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 11.80% — 18th lowest

45. New Jersey
> Adult obesity rate: 27.70%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 20.20% — 15th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 8.60% — 17th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.80% — 8th lowest

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44. Washington
> Adult obesity rate: 28.00%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 17.50% — 4th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 7.80% — 10th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 11.80% — 17th lowest

43. Nevada
> Adult obesity rate: 28.10%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 24.90% — 13th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.90% — 18th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 16.70% — 8th highest

42. Florida
> Adult obesity rate: 28.30%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 25.80% — 8th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.50% — 23rd highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 13.30% — 21st highest

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41. Oregon
> Adult obesity rate: 28.30%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 17.60% — 5th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 8.40% — 15th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 12.70% — 25th highest

40. Montana
> Adult obesity rate: 28.90%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 18.00% — 6th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 7.70% — 9th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 12.10% — 21st lowest

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39. Utah
> Adult obesity rate: 29.30%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 16.30% — the lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 8.50% — 16th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.90% — 11th lowest

38. Connecticut
> Adult obesity rate: 29.50%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 20.20% — 14th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 8.20% — 14th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 11.00% — 12th lowest

37. California
> Adult obesity rate: 30.20%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 21.10% — 20th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.20% — 23rd lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 14.40% — 18th highest

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36. New Hampshire
> Adult obesity rate: 30.50%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 18.60% — 8th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 7.40% — 4th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.80% — 10th lowest

35. Minnesota
> Adult obesity rate: 30.60%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 18.70% — 9th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 7.80% — 11th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.00% — the lowest

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34. Wyoming
> Adult obesity rate: 30.60%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 21.60% — 24th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 7.50% — 6th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 11.50% — 14th lowest

33. Rhode Island
> Adult obesity rate: 30.60%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 22.90% — 22nd highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.00% — 20th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 11.80% — 16th lowest

32. Maryland
> Adult obesity rate: 30.90%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 20.60% — 18th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.10% — 21st lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.60% — 6th lowest

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31. Idaho
> Adult obesity rate: 31.30%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 19.70% — 11th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 7.90% — 12th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 11.80% — 19th lowest

30. Maine
> Adult obesity rate: 31.30%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 19.70% — 12th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 8.20% — 13th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 11.10% — 13th lowest

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29. Arizona
> Adult obesity rate: 31.50%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 21.60% — 23rd lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.70% — 21st highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 14.50% — 16th highest

28. Pennsylvania
> Adult obesity rate: 31.60%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 23.40% — 21st highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.70% — 22nd highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 13.10% — 22nd highest

27. New Mexico
> Adult obesity rate: 31.70%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 22.50% — 24th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 11.00% — 12th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 13.80% — 19th highest

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26. Alaska
> Adult obesity rate: 31.80%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 21.10% — 21st lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 7.40% — 5th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 12.20% — 22nd lowest

25. Virginia
> Adult obesity rate: 32.40%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 20.40% — 17th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.80% — 20th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 12.40% — 25th lowest

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24. Illinois
> Adult obesity rate: 32.50%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 24.40% — 17th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.30% — 24th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 12.30% — 23rd lowest

23. Wisconsin
> Adult obesity rate: 32.70%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 19.80% — 13th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 7.60% — 7th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 12.40% — 24th lowest

22. South Dakota
> Adult obesity rate: 33.40%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 21.60% — 25th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 6.90% — 2nd lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.40% — 5th lowest

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21. North Carolina
> Adult obesity rate: 33.60%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 21.90% — 25th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 11.00% — 11th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 13.50% — 20th highest

20. North Dakota
> Adult obesity rate: 33.60%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 24.60% — 15th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.30% — 25th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 11.60% — 15th lowest

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19. Nebraska
> Adult obesity rate: 34.00%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 21.00% — 19th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 8.90% — 19th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 10.20% — 2nd lowest

18. Missouri
> Adult obesity rate: 34.20%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 24.90% — 14th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.40% — 25th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 15.20% — 12th highest

17. Georgia
> Adult obesity rate: 34.30%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 24.50% — 16th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 10.60% — 14th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 15.10% — 14th highest

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16. Michigan
> Adult obesity rate: 35.30%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 20.20% — 16th lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 10.60% — 15th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 14.70% — 15th highest

15. Kansas
> Adult obesity rate: 35.80%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 21.40% — 22nd lowest
> Adults who have diabetes: 9.90% — 19th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 12.80% — 24th highest

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14. Texas
> Adult obesity rate: 35.80%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 25.40% — 11th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 12.00% — 6th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 15.70% — 10th highest

13. Ohio
> Adult obesity rate: 35.80%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 23.50% — 20th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 10.90% — 13th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 14.50% — 17th highest

12. Tennessee
> Adult obesity rate: 35.80%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 23.60% — 18th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 12.50% — 5th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 15.70% — 11th highest

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11. Delaware
> Adult obesity rate: 36.20%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 23.60% — 19th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 10.50% — 16th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 12.80% — 23rd highest

10. South Carolina
> Adult obesity rate: 36.70%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 25.60% — 10th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 11.90% — 7th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 15.90% — 9th highest

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9. Kentucky
> Adult obesity rate: 37.00%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 29.30% — the highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 11.40% — 10th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 19.50% — 2nd highest

8. Oklahoma
> Adult obesity rate: 37.10%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 27.90% — 5th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 11.80% — 8th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 17.30% — 7th highest

7. Indiana
> Adult obesity rate: 37.20%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 25.60% — 9th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 10.50% — 17th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 15.10% — 13th highest

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6. Arkansas
> Adult obesity rate: 37.20%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 28.80% — 3rd highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 11.70% — 9th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 19.40% — 3rd highest

5. Iowa
> Adult obesity rate: 37.20%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 22.70% — 23rd highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 8.90% — 18th lowest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 12.00% — 20th lowest

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4. Louisiana
> Adult obesity rate: 38.30%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 28.20% — 4th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 12.70% — 4th highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 19.00% — 4th highest

3. Alabama
> Adult obesity rate: 39.30%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 27.80% — 6th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 13.00% — 3rd highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 18.90% — 5th highest

2. West Virginia
> Adult obesity rate: 39.60%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 27.40% — 7th highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 13.10% — 2nd highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 20.00% — the highest

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1. Mississippi
> Adult obesity rate: 39.90%
> Adults who don’t exercise regularly: 28.90% — 2nd highest
> Adults who have diabetes: 13.20% — the highest
> Adults who report being in poor or fair health: 18.70% — 6th highest

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