When it comes to the US states with the highest levels of obesity and the least amount of time spent exercising, the majority fall in the South.
In an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Virginia was found to be the most obese state in the nation, with an adult obesity rate of 38 percent.
Experts say it’s not surprising considering the Mountain State has among the highest rates of diabetes, hypertension and obesity-related cancers, reported Consumer Protect.
West Virginia was closely followed by Mississippi, Oklahoma, Iowa and Alabama.
Meanwhile Colorado led the pack as the state with the least amount of adult obesity with a rate of nearly 23 percent.
Rounding out the top five were the District of Columbia, and the western states of Hawaii, California and Utah.
The analysis also looked at lack of exercise and found Kentucky to be the state with the most ‘couch potatoes’.
Nearly 35 percent of adults reported performing zero exercise – almost double the amount in Washington, the state where adults work out the most.
West Virginia was found to be the most obese state in the US with a 38.1% rate of adult obesity while Colorado was ranked the least obese state with a 22.6% rate
TOP 10 MOST OBESE STATES…
1. West Virginia
10. South Carolina
…AND THE 10 LEAST OBESE STATES
2. District of Columbia
7. New York
Data came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which is a survey conducted via telephone by the CDC and state health departments.
In addition to having the highest obesity prevalence, West Virginia also led the nation in the percentage of adults with diabetes at 15.2.
West Virginia had the nation’s highest drug-overdose death rate in 2015 and was named in a Wallethub study as the least happy state in America.
Mississippi, which came in as the second most obese state, has the lowest life expectancy in the US, according to 24/7 Wall Street.
Obesity is known as a risk factor for several chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart attack and even certain types of cancer.
Health officials say that addressing the obesity epidemic will not only lead to better health outcomes but also reduce medical costs.
In 2012, a study from Cornell University in New York found obesity accounts for about 21 percent of total US health care costs, approximately $190.2 billion per year.
And a 2006 study found that obese people typically spent around $1,400 more on medical cost than those with normal weights.
Colorado fared relatively well with an obesity rate of just 22.6 percent, with its residents enjoying outdoor activities such as cycling and hiking, as well as eating minimally-processed food, reported Mind Body Green.
Hawaii, which came in third for lowest levels of obesity also has the highest life expectancy.
According to Consumer Protect, Hawaiians live about 6.5 years longer than Mississippians.
The analysis also looked at the states where Americans get the least amount of exercise.
Kentucky came in first with 34.4 percent of adult not exercising at all. Closely following were Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
TIME points out that these states lack public transportation so people can go to the gym and it is often too hot to exercise outside most of the year.
Washington was crowned the state where adults exercise the most – with just 19.2 percent performing no exercise, followed by Colorado, California, Alaska and Utah.
Unsurprisingly, all five states are home to national parks, forests and mountains that allow for plenty of outdoor activities.
Studies have shown performing no exercise increases the risk of heart disease, heat attack, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and – of course – obesity.