Another day, another poll to make overweight people feel terrible. In a recent Gallup-HealthWays poll, reportedly, the metro areas in America have a problem with obesity amongst its residents. At least 15 percent of residents in 187 of the 190 metro areas surveyed are obese. The metro areas are based on the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s metropolitan statistical areas, which in many cases include more than one city.
Taking home the healthy title for the third time, Boulder, Colorado, with a population of roughly 1.2% African-Americans, was, according to this poll, the skinniest city in America, with only 12.1% of its residents considered obese.
The city that has the largest waistlines is a South Texas metro area named McAllen-Edinburg-Mission. The Hispanic population dominates this collection of cities, with over 88% identifying as Latino of any race. The cities have also held a few other negative decorations, such as the metro area with the lowest per-capita income in America and the metro area tied with the Bronx, New York for the most residents receiving food stamps.
The next two cities on the annual “whose fat and whose not” list are Binghamton, N.Y. with a whopping 37.6 % and Huntington-Ashland, W. Va., Ky., Ohio, 36.0, host metro area of Jamie Oliver’s fat-shaming show Food Revolution. Saliently, both of these metro areas are over 88% percent white and both shared large populations of adults and children living below the poverty lines.
In my opinion, it’s important to name the racial aspects of this study, mainly dispelling the specious myths about the state of black and Hispanic health, as if they are the only ones suffering from obesity. Conversely, only one of the “skinniest” metropolitan areas — Trenton-Ewing, NJ — boasted a black or non-white Hispanic population over 15 percent.
If you live in one of these cities or are considered obese or overweight, don’t feel discouraged. The Body Mass Index (BMI), which was used as the measuring stick for this poll, doesn’t account for healthy larger-sized people or muscular individuals.
The nation’s average obesity rate has held steady at about 26 percent in 2011, while the average for the 10 most obese metro areas was 34.8 percent, compared with an average of 15.9 percent for the least obese metro areas surveyed.
Here is the list of the top ten largest and smallest metropolitan areas in terms of weight:
- McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas: 38.8 percent
- Binghamton, N.Y.: 37.6
- Huntington-Ashland, W. Va., Ky., Ohio: 36.0
- Rockford, Ill.: 35.5
- Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas: 33.8
- Charleston, W. Va.: 33.8
- Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.: 33.5
- Topeka, Kans.: 33.3
- Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Wash.: 33.2
- Reading, Penn.: 32.7
- Boulder, Colo.: 12.1 percent
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.: 14.5
- Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.: 14.6
- Barnstable Town, Mass.: 15.9
- Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif.: 16.4
- Naples-Marco Island, Fla.: 16.5
- Trenton-Ewing, N.J.: 16.8
- Provo-Orem, Utah: 17.1
- Colorado Springs, Colo.: 17.4
- San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.: 17.5