10 States With The Deadliest Eating Habits

Charles B. Stockdale, Douglas A. McIntyre and Michael B. Sauter report 10 States With the Deadliest Eating Habits

Americans are fat and getting fatter by the year. Recent data reported in medical journal Lancet showed that Body Mass Index, BMI, a recognized measurement of obesity, is higher on average in America than in any other nation.  This trend toward poorer diets has caused obesity to be the most written-about health problem in the United States. Fat Americans are more likely to have diabetes, coronary artery disease, strokes and certain forms of cancer. Less well reported are links between obesity and dementia, obesity and post menopausal estrogen receptors, and obesity and social status. Thin people, apparently, are more likely to be chief executives and billionaires. The problem of obesity is so acute that the number of studies about its causes and solutions grows by the day. The journal Health Affairs reported last year that overall obesity related health spending reached $147 billion in the U.S., about double what it was a decade earlier

The data on poor eating habits and obesity are abundant and unusually well-researched. Congress funded a nationwide report which was called “Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food — Measuring and Understanding Food Desserts and Their Consequences.” The information contained in this report includes the number of households who do not have access to cars and probably find it difficult to go to grocery stores frequently. The USDA keeps in-depth statistics on concentration of grocery stores. The Census Bureau tracks fast food expenditures per capita. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services follows consumption of fruits and vegetables. 24/7 made its state rankings based on grocery stores per 1,000 residents, amount spent on fast food per capita, gallons of soft drinks purchased per capita and pounds of sweet snacks purchased per capita. We also took into account information provided about poverty levels, obesity and other factors directly related to unhealthy diets.

It is worth mentioning again how complex and local the obesity and eating habit problem is. This does not mean that the problems are insoluble, but nearly so. The issue of fat Americans is one that almost needs to be addressed house-to-house.

8. Ohio
Grocery Stores Per 1,000 Residents: 0.18 (45th)
Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $622 (20th least)
Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 70 (11th most)
Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 122 (10th most)
Because a large part of Ohio’s poor population is located in major urban centers like Cleveland and Cincinnati, the state ranks well in regards to access to grocery stores among the poor. However, the state ranks third-worst in store availability across all income classes at 0.18 locations per 1,000 people, compared to 0.6 in first place North Dakota. Ohio’s population has the 11th-greatest consumption of soft drinks, and top-10 highest consumption of both sweet snacks and solid fats. As a result of these poor diets, Ohio has an adult diabetes occurrence of over 10%, which is the 11th-worst rate in the country.

3. Missouri
Grocery Stores Per 1,000 Residents: 0.26 (22nd)
Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $623 (21st least)
Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 65 (18th highest)
Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 121 (17th most)
Grocery Stores Per 1,000 Residents: 0.26 (22nd)
Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $623 (21st least)
Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 65 (18th highest)
Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 121 (17th most)
Missouri does not rank especially poor in any of the metrics considered, however it does rank badly in about almost every one. It has the 11th-lowest rates of adults eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, the eighth-greatest rate of food insecurity, and relatively high rates of soft drink, sweet snack and solid fats consumption. Missouri has the ninth-worst rate of obesity among adults, with 30% having a body mass index greater than 30.

2. Alabama
Grocery Stores Per 1,000 Residents: 0.21 (37th)
Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $649 (23rd most)
Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 77 (4th most)
Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 113 (16th least)
Grocery Stores Per 1,000 Residents: 0.21 (37th)
Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $649 (23rd most)
Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 77 (4th most)
Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 113 (16th least)
Alabama residents consume 77 gallons of soft drinks per capita per year, the fourth-highest amount in the country. This is roughly 33% more than Oregon, which consumes the least. Soft drinks like cola have more sugar per ounce than nearly any other food we regularly consume, and it is clear that soda has helped contribute to Alabama’s poor health outcomes. The state has the seventh-highest obesity rate and, predictably, the second-worst diabetes rate. More than 12% of the state’s adult population has the disease.

1. Mississippi
Grocery Stores Per 1,000 Residents: 0.21 (34th)
Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $588 (17th least)
Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 82 (most)
Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 113 (17th least)
Grocery Stores Per 1,000 Residents: 0.21 (34th)
Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $588 (17th least)
Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 82 (most)
Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 113 (17th least)
Mississippi has the worst eating habits in the country. Only 8.8% of the adult population eats the recommended amount of daily fruits and vegetables, the lowest rate in the country. Residents consumed just under 82 gallons of soft drinks per capita in 2006, the greatest amount reported. Furthermore, the state has the third-highest rate of household-level food insecurity, with 17.1% of households being affected. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the state has the highest rates of both adult diabetes (12.8%) and adult obesity (34.4%).

Commentary: In urban centers many have food insecurity, and shop for food at bodegas where selection is limited, which results in choices detrimental to one’s health. Urban Dictionary relates bodegas are mini-mart, a 7-11, but usually smaller and more like a liquor store atmosphere. Commonly used term on the east coast, especially in the New York City region, where you will find many of these. The word came from the actual Spanish word for “grocery store” – la bodega. Bodegas abound in neighborhoods where BMI is high.

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