For the second year in a row, Mississippi ranks as the fattest state in America, with 35.2 percent of its residents qualifying as obese, according to a new report, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the study found that Hawaii has the lowest obesity rate at 19 percent.
The Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being 2014 Obesity Rankings found that overall obesity in the United States is still on the rise, affecting 27.7 percent of the population, up from 27.1 percent in 2013 and a significant increase from the 25.5 percent recorded in 2008.
West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma round out the list of the five most obese states.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Massachusetts have ranked among the 10 states with the lowest obesity rates every year since 2008.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is based on 2.2 million surveys, asking respondents to self-report their height and weight, which is used to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI), as well as questions about their well-being across five categories, including their sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, community, and physical health. The report showed a strong link between obesity and lower overall well-being.
"People who are not obese are more likely to reach their goals, use their strengths at what they do best, make time for regular trips or vacations with friends and family, be satisfied with their standard of living, and feel safe and secure in their community," the report states.
The 2014 index also includes obesity rankings of the 100 most populous communities in the United States. Colorado Springs was found to have the lowest obesity rate, while Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ranked highest.