New Report Reveals States with Highest Incidence of Obesity

A new report from the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index® shows that the obesity rate in the United States is the highest since Gallup and Sharecare began tracking and measuring well-being in 2008. According to the “Gallup-Sharecare State of American Well-Being 2014 Obesity Rankings,” the national incidence of obesity was 27.7 percent in 2014, up from 27.1 percent in 2013 and significantly above the 25.5 percent recorded in 2008.

The report ranks the incidence of obesity for all 50 states as well as the top 100 most populous communities. States noteworthy for having low obesity rates are Hawaii, which has the lowest obesity rate in the nation at 19 percent, and then California, Colorado, Connecticut and Massachusetts, which have ranked among the 10 states with the lowest obesity rates every year since 2008.

On the other end of the spectrum, Mississippi had the highest incidence of obesity for the second year in a row at 35.2 percent. Five states have been among the 10 states with the highest obesity rates every year since 2008: Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia.

The “2014 Obesity Rankings” is the third in a series of reports published this year based on the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. Survey respondents self-report their height and weight, which is used to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI). Americans who have a BMI of 30 or higher are classified as obese. Obesity is a major contributor to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other risk factors, and is linked to higher medical costs and lower overall well-being. The 2014 obesity rankings showed a strong and consistent link between obesity and well-being.

The Well-Being Index includes 2.2 million surveys, captures how people feel about and experience their daily lives, and measures well-being across five elements: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. Previous Gallup and Sharecare research shows that high well-being closely relates to key health outcomes such as lower rates of healthcare utilization, lower workplace absenteeism and better workplace performance.

To receive free Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index reports and insights as they are released, including the upcoming “State of Global Well-Being: Results of the Gallup-Sharecare Global Well-Being Index,” subscribe to the Well-Being Index.