The Least Obese City in the Country

… is Boulder, Colo.

Lily Mathews, 11, heads out for a cross-country ski around her neighborhood February 3, 2012 in Boulder, Colorado.  
National Journal
Emma Roller
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Emma Roller
April 4, 2014, 8:09 a.m.

If you need in­spir­a­tion to fi­nally fol­low through on your New Year’s res­ol­u­tion, con­sider mov­ing to Col­or­ado. For the fourth con­sec­ut­ive year, Boulder has the low­est obesity rate in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to Gal­lup.

At 12.4 per­cent, Boulder’s obesity rate is less than half the na­tion­al av­er­age of 27.1 per­cent. Two oth­er metro areas in Col­or­ado — Fort Collins-Love­land and Den­ver-Au­rora — also made the top 10 for com­munit­ies with the low­est obesity rates.

Why so healthy, Col­or­ado? Gal­lup pos­its that it’s be­cause of Col­oradans’ pro­cliv­ity for ex­er­cising in the Great Out­doors. “Col­or­ado is known for its out­door spaces and activ­it­ies, which at­tracts act­ive res­id­ents and en­cour­ages res­id­ents to live healthy life­styles,” the re­port reads.

Gal­lup gathered data from Janu­ary 2012 to Decem­ber 2013, meas­ur­ing re­spond­ent be­ha­vi­ors such as smoking, ex­er­cise, and eat­ing fruits and ve­get­ables fre­quently.

And the most obese city? That cor­pu­lent title goes to the re­gion where the bor­ders of West Vir­gin­ia, Ken­tucky, and Ohio meet. Nearly 40 per­cent of res­id­ents in the Hunt­ing­ton, W.Va.-Ash­land, Ky.-south­ern Ohio area are obese. Gal­lup found that the con­gres­sion­al dis­trict with the low­est over­all well-be­ing was also in Ken­tucky.

Un­for­tu­nately, metro areas with re­l­at­ively low obesity rates are the ex­cep­tion to the rule. Gal­lup data show that Amer­ic­an cit­ies and states are los­ing their fight against obesity:

Adult obesity rates are above 15 per­cent in all but one of the 189 metro areas that Gal­lup and Health­ways sur­veyed in 2012 and 2013. The U.S. De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices’ Healthy People 2010 pro­gram had a goal of re­du­cing obesity to 15 per­cent in each state. No state and only one U.S. metro area has achieved this goal.

To em­ploy a ter­rible pun, it looks like pub­lic-health work­ers still have a lot on their plates.

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