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SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to the fight against obesity in America, Utah is faring quite well. But the nation as a whole is getting fatter.
That’s according to a new Gallup-Healthways report examining obesity rates in each state. Utah fell just short of the top 10 — coming in 11th with just 25.1 percent of its population classified as obese.
That’s just over 6 percent higher than the slimmest state in the country — Hawaii.
“Hawaii had the lowest incidence of obesity in 2014, making it the only state where fewer than one in five residents are obese,” Gallup said in a statement to NBC News.
It’s the first time the Aloha State has taken the title since 2009, according to the report.
Colorado took second place with 20.3 percent, while Montana inched into the No. 3 slot with an obesity rate of 23.5 percent, according to the report.
On the other end of the spectrum, Mississippi was ranked as the heaviest state in the nation, with just over 35 percent of its residents battling obesity. That’s roughly one out of every three people. This is the second year in a row the state has reported the highest obesity rate, according to the poll.
Other states that didn’t fare so well were West Virginia, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Overall, obesity in the U.S. is up from last year, with nearly 28 percent of the country clinically obese.
“The national obesity rate in 2014 was the highest that Gallup and Healthways have measured since starting to track this measure in 2008,” the Gallup statement read.
To produce the obesity rankings, Gallup-Healthways asked 176,000 American adults to report their height and weight, then used that data to determine body mass indices.
- Hawaii (19%)
- Colorado (20.3%)
- Montana (23.5%)
- California (23.9%)
- Massachusetts (24%)
The rankings were part of the annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, composed of information from 2.2 million surveys that include questions about “how people feel about and experience their daily lives.” It measures how people rank their well-being in five areas: purpose, social, financial, community and physical.
Data consistently shows that people who are clinically obese experience lower overall well-being, according to Gallup. In fact, obese people are nearly 30 percent more likely to report a lack of purpose than those who are not obese.
Obese people are also 34 percent more likely to suffer with financial well-being than those who maintain a healthy weight, the report revealed.
To be considered obese, one must have a BMI higher than 30, according to the Mayo Clinic. Obesity can lead to myriad dangerous health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
To calculate your BMI, you can use this tool from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.