15 U.S. Cities Where You’re Likely to Become Obese

Heavyweight Man Eating Funk Food

Although all of us try to stay as fit as possible, it’s not always the easiest thing to do. Whether our busy schedules get in the way, we sustain an injury or we just have zero interest in working out, packing on the pounds can be easy—and very unhealthy. And since some U.S. cities have shown to do that better than others, here are the ones where you’re likely to become obese.

15. Syracuse, New York

With obesity a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, it’s not surprise that Syracuse, New York’s residents have spent more than $125 billion in medical costs for treatment of the disease. When over 25 percent of residents are considered to be overweight in Syracuse, it’s a concern that the state is hoping residents try and turn around.

14. Flint, Michigan

Located just 60-plus miles outside of Detroit, their has to be one contributing factor to the obesity rate in Flint, Michigan—the economy. Whether it’s boredom, high-unemployment or the chilly winters, people in Flint are spending more time around the dinner table and inside than being active at the gym or outside. With a high crime-rate, as well, Flint is hoping for a revival in the coming years.

13. Roanoke, Virginia

Surrounded by nearby mountains that outline the city, Roanoke, Virginia actually isn’t as active as one might imagine it would be. With cold, long winters, the city doesn’t have great industry, which could be attributed to the high obesity rate. Whatever the reason, Roanoke’s residents need to hop into the gym to lose some of the pounds.

12. Huntsville, Alabama

With tremendous history and national flight and aviation centers, Huntsville, Alabama has a lot to see and do if visiting, but it seems that their residents don’t take advantage of walking around as much as they should. While mild during the winter and humid during the summer, Huntsville being so high on this list is actually a bit surprising to me.

11. Topeka, Kansas

The capital of the state, Topeka, Kansas’ biggest industry is, as expected, government jobs. That’s no easy task, though, with hours outside of work limited as decisions need to be made. Maybe that’s why nearly 33 percent of their 127,000-plus residents are obese, because they are always working and eating fast-food rather than something more healthy and working out.

10. Green Bay, Wisconsin

They don’t call them the cheeseheads for nothing, you know. Home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, the frozen tundra in the city is well-documented—and it appears that the majority of people in the town have enough weight to keep them warm during those freezing, winter days. Located on the mouth of the Fox River, Green Bay is cold the majority of the year, forcing people to do one thing—eat and drink.

9. Jackson, Mississippi

Another southern city on this list, Jackson, Mississippi is home to old money and great history, but it also has its fair share of obese folks. With over 172,000 people calling Jackson home, nearly 34 percent of its population has an overweight problem—even though they are, generally, prone to warmer climate for people to enjoy outside.

8. Clarksville, Tennessee

As someone who has lived in Nashville, Tennessee—which is a mere 45 miles from Clarksville, Tennessee—I can tell you that there isn’t much to do in the latter city. While Nashville is the home of country music and bustling resurgence, Clarksville is just enough of a drive to be considered to be, “in the sticks,” leaving them with chain restaurants and little industry, with obesity being way too prevalent.

7. Toledo, Ohio

Located in the rust belt, Toledo, Ohio isn’t a spot where you would find too many people on vacation. Growing up a little over an hour from the city, it has its perks and a certain charm about it, but, because the main industry in the town has deteriorated over the years, it’s only fitting that people have turned to eating in their spare time, with 34 percent of their 282,000 residents considered to be obese. The cold weather certainly doesn’t help people stay active.

6. Charles Town, West Virginia

One of the smallest towns on this list, the amount of obese people in Charles Town, West Virginia sits at 34.6 percent, meaning that of their 5,259 residents, nearly 1,800 of them are obese. I’ve never visited Charles Town, but with stats like that, I would imagine there is some good eating and nothing else to do in the place.

5. Little Rock, Arkansas

If you’ve ever driven through or visited Little Rock, Arkansas, there’s a very good chance that the food of choice was barbeque. That’s because, like other places down south, Little Rock loves their ribs, pulled pork and anything else that they can lather heavy sauce all over. For that reason, it shouldn’t be too shocking that the city is so high on this list.

4. Yakima, Washington

Although Yakima, Washington isn’t too far from one of the fittest cities in the nation, Seattle, and just a short drive to Mount Rainier—a popular spot for hikers—the town of over 93,000 still finds itself among the most obese in all of the United States. Maybe it’s the gray and darkness for seven months of the year that makes people stay in and eat so much?

3. Hagerstown, Maryland

For a town of just over 40,000, Hagerstown, Maryland sure does pack a heck of a lot of weight. Located just about over an hour drive west of Baltimore, it seems like the residents in the city are eating their fair share of lobster and crab cakes, because nearly 37 percent of their population are obese.

2. McCallen, Texas

Everyone knows that the state of Texas does things just a little bit larger than others, so seeing McCallen, Texas so high on this list probably shouldn’t be much of a surprise. With a population of just under 137,000 people, an astounding 38.3 percent of them are considered to be obese by the U.S. definition following research results.

1. Huntington-Ashland, Ohio

Of every city in the United States, there isn’t a more obese place than Huntington-Ashland, Ohio, which has a total population of about 365,000, with over 142,000 of those residents considered to be obese. That’s a ridiculous number that has to come down if the town hopes to build in the coming future.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images


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