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Mississippi Named America’s Fattest State

Update Date: Mar 06, 2014 09:23 AM EST

For the first time in three years, America's fattest state is no longer West Virginia. According to the Gallup Poll, which is responsible for drafting this list every year since it started in 2008, Mississippi came in first with a 35.4 percent obesity rate. West Virginia was not far behind in second with an obesity rate of 34.4 percent.

For this report, the researchers administered surveys randomly to a total of 178,072 adults. The survey asked for height and weight information so that the researchers could measure the individual's body mass index (BMI). A BMI of over 30 is categorized as obese. The information was collected as a part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

The report crowned Montana as the state with the lowest obesity rate at 19.6 percent. This rate was an improvement from the state's obesity rate of 22 percent in 2012. Overall, the report found that the country's national obesity rate based on these numbers increased slightly from 26.2 percent in 2012 to 27.1 percent.

Aside from ranking the states based on their obesity rate, the researchers also looked at other health factors such as high cholesterol, diabetes, depression and cancer. The researchers found that the 10 most obese states, with Delaware at number three with 34.4 percent followed by Louisiana (32.7%), Arkansas (32.3%), South Carolina (31.4%), Tennessee (31.2%), Ohio (30.9%), Kentucky (30.6%) and Oklahoma (30.5%), were more likely to deal with chronic health issues. The researchers calculated that an average of 35.8 percent of the residents from these 10 states have hypertension. An average of 28.2 percent of the Americans from these states have high cholesterol and 20.7 percent had depression. The average diabetes, cancer and heart attack rate for residents of the 10 states were 14.3 percent, 7.8 percent and five percent respectively.

The researchers found that the 10 least obese states, which included Colorado (20.4%), Nevada (21.1%), Minnesota (22%), Massachusetts (22.2%), Connecticut (23.2%), New Mexico (23.5%), California (23.6%), Hawaii (23.7%) and New York (24%), had lower rates of chronic illnesses. The average rates for hypertension and high cholesterol for people living in these 10 states were 26.4 percent and 23.2 percent respectively. The residents from the 10 least obese states also reported higher levels of healthy eating and physical activity.

The Gallup Report can be accessed here.

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