100 most obese cities in the US, according to new study

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • McAllen, Texas, was deemed the most obese city in America, a study found
  • People in Seattle, however, were the least likely to be overweight or obese 
  • READ MORE: CDC data shows record 40% of adults are obese in these states

A border town in Texas is America’s fattest city, according to a new report.

McAllen, which sits on the southern border with Mexico, took the top spot with a score of 85.5 out of 100. Nearly half of its adults are obese and the city of 144,000 also has high rates of heart disease and diabetes, which have long been linked to obesity.

Other cities rounding out the top five were: Jackson, Mississippi; Shreveport, Louisiana; Mobile, Alabama; and Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Analysts at finance site WalletHub measured several lifestyle factors, including activity levels, heart disease, diabetes, and access to healthy foods, to determine which part of the country need more investment in those areas.

The researchers then scored 100 cities based on the outcome and calculated an average figure for a comparison. 

Scroll down for the full list of 100 fattest cities 

Researchers found that McAllen, Texas, was the most obese city in America

People in southern states were more likely to be obese due to high prevalence of chronic disease and lack of access to healthy foods and recreational centers, researchers said

People in southern states were more likely to be obese due to high prevalence of chronic disease and lack of access to healthy foods and recreational centers, researchers said

Additionally, southern states like Louisiana and Mississippi rank highest in terms of the number of weight-loss prescriptions like Ozempic and Wegovy.  

They found that southern cities, which have historically had higher levels of obesity, were the most obese. 

Seattle, meanwhile, had the lowest rate of obesity, which the researchers attributed to a highly active population with a low incidence of diabetes.

The findings come as the CDC predicts more than 40 percent of Americans are obese, which the agency has called an ‘urgent priority.’ 

Lead analyst Cassandra Happe said: ‘Obesity is becoming more and more prevalent in the US, and it’s costing us big time.

‘In the most overweight and obese cities, residents often lack easy access to healthy food and recreation opportunities, so investing in those areas should help improve people’s diets and exercise regimens, and reduce the financial burden overall.’

WalletHub compared 100 of the most populated cities in the US across three metrics: overweight and obesity, health consequences, and food and fitness.  

The team then looked at the share of overweight children, teenagers, and adults in each area, as well as projected obesity rates by 2030.

Health consequences measured included high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.  

Researchers also evaluated how many residents had access to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as parks and recreational facilities. 

The data was sourced from the CDC, the US Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, USDA, and county health rankings, among others. 

McAllen was the most obese with a score of 85.5. It was deemed the fourth worst city in terms of obesity and overweight, second-worst for health consequences, and second-worst for food and fitness ranks. 

The researchers found that 45 percent of adults in the city are obese, and another 31 percent are overweight. It also had the second-highest share of obese teenagers and the second-most obese children. 

Additionally, it had the fourth-highest rate of people with diabetes and third-highest for heart disease.

‘One reason why many people in McAllen are overweight is because they don’t exercise very much, as the city has the highest share of physically inactive adults,’ the researchers wrote.

‘That may not be entirely their fault, considering McAllen has the lowest percentage of residents who live close to parks or recreational facilities.’

Jackson, Mississippi, came in second place, as it had the highest rate of obesity among children ages 10 to 17, which is nearly 24 percent. 

The city of nearly 150,000 also had another 19 percent of young people who were overweight but not obese. 

Additionally, 5.5 percent of adults in the city have had a stroke.

‘Factors that contribute to the high rates of obesity in Jackson include lower than average exercise and limited access to healthy foods,’ the researchers wrote.

‘The problem will likely remain for the foreseeable future, too, as Jackson has the second-highest projected obesity rate for 2030.’

The above map shows the obesity rate by US state in the year 2022, the latest that data is available from the CDC

The above map shows the obesity rate by US state in the year 2022, the latest that data is available from the CDC

Shreveport, Louisiana, which sits on the border east of Texas, was the third-most obese city, as about 36 percent of adults are obese and another 36 percent are overweight.

Shreveport also had the second-highest rate of adults with high cholesterol, at nearly 39 percent, and the most people with high blood pressure, at just over 40 percent. 

The researchers said: Unhealthy eating is a big reason why many of Shreveport’s residents are overweight and obese.’

‘The city has some of the lowest rates of adults who eat fruits and vegetables at least once daily, and many residents lack easy access to healthy food. Residents are largely physically inactive, too.’

 Meanwhile, Seattle was the least obese city, scoring just 58.33. 

The team said that the metro area’s 733,000 residents had the second-lowest rate of physically inactive adults, just behind Provo, Utah. 

Additionally, it ranked 98 out of 100 in terms of the percentage of diabetic adults.  

The most obese cities in America 
Overall rank  Metro Area  Total Score  Obesity and Overweight Rank  Health Consequences Rank  Food and Fitness Rank 
1 McAllen, TX 85.54 
Jackson, MI  84.58 
Shreveport, LA  83.82  17 
Mobile, AL  83.11  10  11 
Little Rock, AR 82.31  24 
Knoxville, TN 81.71  25  18 
Memphis, TN  81.65  23 
Lafayette, LA  81.64  25  15 
Baton Rouge, LA 81.28  11  26 
10  Chattanooga, TN 81.15  20  13 
11  Birmingham, AL  81.02  18  12 
12  Columbia, SC 80.06  21  16  10 
13  Oklahoma City, OK  80.03  31  21 
14  Tulsa, OK  79.64  22  36 
15  Fayetteville, AR  79.34  14  26  28 
16  Augusta, GA 79.31  31  13 
17  New Orleans, LA  78.91  13  13  25 
18  Canton, OH  78.78  39  10  23 
19  Wichita, KS  78.39  37  17  12 
20  Youngstown, OH 78.23  22  41  16 
21  San Antonio, TX  78.18  33  67 
22  Winston, NC  77.77  68  11 
23  Fort Wayne, IN  77.66  41  18  14 
24  Greenville, SC  77.65  36  34 
25  Dallas, TX 77.61  12  32  39 
26  Myrtle Beach, SC  77.47  32  28  24 
27  El Paso, TX  77.33  64  45 
28  Louisville, KY  76.83  15  14  64 
29  Charleston, SC 76.58  17  57  30 
30  Greensboro, NC 76.31  62  15 
31  Huntsville, AL  76.22  33  91 20 
32  Akron, OH  76.11  19  60  37 
33  Toledo, OH 75.94  27  40  31 
34  Detroit, MI  75.79  58  29 
35  Riverside, CA 75.56  55  19  22 
36  Albuquerque, NM 75.54  16  36  52 
37  Lexington-Fayette, KY  75.50  30  39  32 
38  Nashville, TN  75.40  28  59  27 
39  Dayton, OH  75.39  40  45  35 
40  Columbus, OH  74.62  26  43  51 
41  Grand Rapids, MI 74.54  42  35  48 
42  Cincinnati, OH  73.78  24  27  82 
43  Indianapolis, IN  73.33  45  48  40 
44  Scranton, PA  73.17  59  37  41 
45  Richmond, VA  73.10  70  20  42 
46  Cleveland, OH  73.02  34  72  44 
47  Providence, RI  73.02  48  56  49 
48  Kansas City, MO  72.90  44  63  34 
49  Houston, TX  72.57  29  62  65 
50  Charlotte, NC  72.57  60  21  56 
51  Virginia Beach, VA  72.22  57  30  59 
52  Phoenix, AZ  71.90  49  61  43 
53  Reno, NV  71.75  51  47  60 
54  Omaha, NE  71.64  38 67  69 
55  Des Moines, IA  71.47  46  86  53 
56  Hartford, CT  71.34  66  53  50 
57  Las Vegas, NV  71.28  50  29  87 
58  Raleigh, NC  71.16  56  46  62 
59  Milwaukee, WI  71.07  43  38  81 
60  Durham, NC  70.86  74  80  19 
61  Atlanta, GA  70.49  47  42  85 
62  Allentown, PA  70.35  67  77  47 
63  Baltimore, MD  70.33  64  54  58 
64  Asheville, NC  70.19  82  50  38 
65  Anchorage, AK  69.77  63  65  61 
66  Austin, TX  69.65  35  79  89 
67  Philadelphia, PA  69.61  52  44  90 
68  New Haven, CT  69.41  71  75  66 
69  St. Louis, MO  69.39  54  66  76 
70  Spokane, WA  68.60  72  78  57 
71  Orlando, FL  68.01  79  49  74 
72  Tucson, AZ  67.50  75  52  84 
73  Springfield, MA  67.39  87  69  63 
74  Los Angeles, CA  66.93  73  71  79 
75  Portland, ME  66.85  85  81  71 
76  Tampa, FL  66.78  69  83  77 
77  Pittsburgh, PA  66.75  65  88  80 
78  Manchester, NH  66.66  92  51  54 
79  San Diego, CA 66.21  83  58  86 
80  Bridgeport, CT  66.01  81  98  73 
81  Jacksonville, FL 65.84  88  68  72 
82  Washington, DC  65.56  53  76  98 
83  Miami, FL 65.48  76 85  83 
84  Chicago, IL  65.37  61  92  92 
85  Ogden, UT 65.24  94  70  46 
86  Worcester, MA  65.19  89  95  55 
87  Sacramento, CA  64.68  77  82  92 
88  New York, NY  64.22  79  74  99 
89  Boise, ID  64.17  91  55  78 
90  Provo, UT  63.75  100  84  33 
91  Salt Lake City, UT  63.22  99  73  75 
92  Portland, OR  62.07  78  89  97 
93  San Francisco, CA  62.01  86 97  93 
94  Colorado Springs, CO  61.83  97  94  68 
95  Minneapolis, MN  61.65  84  87  96 
96  San Jose, CA  60.77  90  100  91 
97  Denver, CO  60.57  98  99  70 
98  Boston, MA  60.55  96  90  88 
99  Honolulu, HI  59.04  93  93  100 
100  Seattle, WA  58.33  95  96  95 

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