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Is your location making it more likely for you to be obese?

WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis

Weight is a prevalent topic for Americans who seem to be gaining more and more each year. In fact, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity." According to Medical News Today, "If a person's bodyweight is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese." Add those who are overweight (not considered obese) and we're looking at over 70% of the U.S. population carrying around extra pounds.

Lots of folks are concerned about this weighty weight issue due to outward appearances, but there's more to being overweight than meets the eye. According to the CDC, "Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer." As per the personal finance site, WalletHub, Americans collectively spend up to $315.8 billion annually on obesity-related medical treatment."

Some weight-related struggles are hereditary, some caused by or due to medical problems, some created by lifestyle choices, and others due to living in communities where weight-related problems prevail – or a combination of multiple factors. But WalletHub, decided to delve into the issue of location as a factor in weight-related issues. Their experts compared 100 of the most highly-populated U.S. metro areas using 17 key indicators related to the incidence of weight gain.

Some areas are more densely populated with fast food establishments and less availability of fresh vegetables and fruits. Certain communities value a more active lifestyle where others lead fairly sedentary lives. Using a number of factors and metrics such as these and cholesterol levels, blood pressure averages, incidence of diabetes, etc., WalletHub ranked the 100 communities to learn which are the "fattest cities in America."

Notice the top 10 mainly lie in the southern portion of the country, with Jackson, MS being deemed "the fattest." Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA clocked in at #100, being the "healthiest" community ranked.

The top 10 "fattest" are:

  1. Jackson, MS
  2. Memphis, TN
  3. Little Rock, AR
  4. McAllen, TX
  5. Shreveport, LA
  6. Chattanooga, TN
  7. Mobile, AL
  8. Lafayette, LA
  9. Winston, NC
  10. Knoxville, TN

Do you live in one of these cities and have weight issues? Can you blame your environment or is it a personal responsibility no matter where you live? Or perhaps it's the duty of the politicians or those who can make changes in particular areas to help citizens battle this issue.

As per Huffington Post, "Though minorities in urban settings have the least access to healthy food options, cities around the U.S. are making an effort to help remedy the situation. Philadelphia has become a role model for other urban areas because it has encouraged the comeback of the farmer's market as well as the addition of refrigeration sections in corner stores where fruits and vegetables can be kept." It's a small step but if the practice is put in place and multiplied, these moves can create a change for the better.

Keeping active is also key. Not everyone needs access to a gym or a space outdoors to get moving. Make Your Body Work suggests 50 free workout resources for exercise that can be done at home.

To review the entire WalletHub analysis, see the findings here.