In a dismaying, but unsurprising, overall finding, "[a]dult obesity rates were higher than 15% in all but three of the 190 metropolitan areas that Gallup and Healthways surveyed in 2011," reports Witters. And the residents of the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area of Texas were the most likely to be obese with an astounding 38.8% of the adult population qualifying.
The Boulder, Colorado metropolitan area led with the lowest obesity rate, at 12.1%. According to Witters, "Boulder, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., and Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo., are the only three metro areas that achieved the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's nationwide goal of lowering obesity rates to 15%."
The effects on financial and physical health of Americans caused by the growing obesity epidemic are profound. "Those living in the 10 areas with the highest levels of obesity are much more likely to report a diagnosis of chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression at some point in their lives than those living in the 10 areas with the lowest obesity rates."
Furthermore, "Americans living in the 10 metro areas where obesity rates are highest cumulatively pay an estimated $1 billion more in healthcare costs each year as a result of high obesity levels than they would if their obesity rates were 15%."