There must be something in the water in over there in Boulder, because apparently, its residents are the thinnest in America. According to TIME magazine, a recent study revealed that Boulder, Colorado is the “fittest” area in America. The not-so-fittest? The Huntington-Ashland-Ironton metropolitan area, which covers West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.
First off, this isn't just any old top 10 list. Gallup did its homework, collecting data from surveys and referencing the overall obesity rates in 189 communities. The outcome? Lists detailing the fittest and most obese areas in the U.S., as well as the fittest and most obese major cities.
According to Gallup's data, 36.5 percent of the population living in the area which straddles West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio are obese. Unfortunately, this isn't that surprising — Huntington-Ashton has been among the top 10 most obese cities for the past five years. Other not-so-fit cities include McAllen-Edinburg-Mission in Texas, Hagerstown-Martinsburg in Maryland and West Virginia, and Little Rock, all with obesity rates of 35 percent or higher. The most obese major city in America? None other than Memphis, Tennessee.
So what’s going on, America? Gallup notes that in Hightington-Ashland-Ironton and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, almost two out of five people are obese. They explain that this has to do with our nation’s overall worsening healthy eating habits in 2013:
"Rising obesity rates have significant health consequences for both individuals and communities of all sizes. Numerous social, environmental, economic, and individual factors may all contribute to physical inactivity and consumption of less healthy foods, two lifestyle behaviors linked to obesity," says Janna Lacatell, Healthways Lifestyle Solutions Director. "In order to combat the trend and encourage individuals to make healthier choices, community-based policy and environmental approaches can, and should, be used."
On the flip-side, Boulder, Colorado has the lowest obesity rates — as in, only 12.4 percent of people in the area are overweight. TIME notes that Boulder has had the lowest numbers of any other community surveyed in the United States for the past five years. Gallup also notes that Colorado's "secret to staying fit" is its role as a hub of outdoor spaces and activities. Outdoor spaces and activities attract healthy, active people, and healthy, active people equal less obesity. Among the top fittest major communities, Denver, Colorado, made the cut, as well as San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco, California. I'm telling you, there's something in the water over there in California and Colorado.
TIME also notes that obesity rates in the U.S. as a whole have jumped to 27.1 percent in the last year, which is, (of course), the highest Gallup has recorded since they began these surveys six years ago. Perhaps we should observe and test the residents of Boulder to find out what their secret is — it can't just be exercise and diet (it just can't).
Below are the top five most and least obese U.S. communities, as well as the top five most and least obese major U.S. communities. For the complete lists, visit Gallup.com.
Least Obese U.S. Communities:
Fort Collins-Loveland, CO
Most Obese U.S. Communities:
Little Rock-N Little Rock Conway, AR
Least Obese Major U.S. Communities:
San Diego-Carlsbda-San-Marcos, CA
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
Most Obese Major U.S Communities:
San Antonio, TX
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA