Colorado Versus West Virginia: Which State is Healthier?

PHOTO: Where you live, however, may have a real impact on your overall fitness level. Getty Images
Where you live, however, may have a real impact on your overall fitness level.

Obesity is an obvious problem in America. Nationwide, the U.S. obesity rate increased to 27.1 percent in 2013, according to a recent survey by Gallup and Healthways.

It's the highest-recorded obesity rate since tracking began in 2008.

But what's not so obvious is how to curb the obesity epidemic.

Where you live, however, may indicate a person's likeliness of being fit or unfit.

Residents of Boulder, Colo. have an adult obesity rate of just 12.4 percent. On the other end of the spectrum, the area of Huntington-Ashland, which comprises parts of W. Va., Kentucky and Ohio, has an obesity rate of 39.5 percent, the highest among the 189 metropolitan areas surveyed in the U.S.

Huntington-Ashland has been among the 10 most obese communities every year since 2008.

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The Gallup and Healthways survey is based on self-reported height and weight to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) scores. BMI scores of 30 or higher are considered obese.

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Boulder has had the lowest obesity rate in the nation since the survey began with the exception of 2009. The survey cited the abundance of outdoor spaces and activities in Colorado as a possible reason for the low obesity rate, "which attracts active residents and encourages residents to live healthy lifestyles."

State-level results found that Mississippi and West Virginia were the most obese states and Montana and Colorado were the least. Three areas in Colorado -- Boulder, Fort Collins-Loveland, and Denver-Aurora -- were among the communities with the 10 lowest obesity rates.

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Where do major cities rank in the war of fit versus fat?

Among major metropolitan areas with populations above 1 million, Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark., had the highest obesity rate, at 31.9 percent, while Denver-Aurora and San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif., tied for the lowest at 19.3 percent.

The average obesity rate for all large communities was 25.7 percent, almost two points below the national average. Survey finding suggest residents in smaller communities are more likely to be obese than those living in larger communities.