50 Least-Healthy Cities in the World
There have been tons of papers and articles written on the least-healthy countries in the world, but where exactly are they?
About 30% of the world's population (2 billion people) suffer from obesity and being overweight, both of which broadly refers to abnormal excess body fat. The weight problem has become a dangerous threat to global health and can lead to a multitude of future health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, respiratory problems, cancer, and so much more. Obesity doesn't just affect developing or developed nations, it affects every country on the planet in one form or another and poses a significant health risk to people from around the world as obesity causes an estimated 2.8 million deaths a year.
So, what causes obesity? At a basic level, obesity is caused by an imbalance in caloric intake and expenditure. By taking in more calories than are being burned, obesity is a possibility. Of course, this is only something to worry about if you do it often, occasional lazy days or eating a little too much happens. The pandemic has been exacerbated due to the increased intake of energy-dense food that's high in fat and an increase in inactivity across the globe which adds to the pandemic we're seeing.
Obviously, there are places where we see this more right? There have been countless studies conducted in various countries to determine just how their own cities stack up in comparison to others around the globe. There have been tons of papers and articles written on the unhealthiest countries in the world, but where exactly are they?
They say everything's bigger in Texas, and I guess that includes people's waistbands. The McAllen metropolitan area has the highest percentage of obese and physically inactive adults and the third-highest percentage of diabetic adults in the United States. It is also ranked as the fattest city in the United States.
In Louisiana, the Shreveport-Bossier metropolitan area was ranked second in WalletHub's 2019 Fattest U.S. Cities list has the highest percentage of adults with low fruit and vegetable intake and the second-highest percentage of adults with high blood pressure.
Southern cities are known for two things: hospitality and down-home, southern cooking. But that's not necessarily doing the residents any favors. The Memphis metropolitan area was ranked third in WalletHub's 2019 Fattest U.S. Cities list and had the fifth-highest percentage of obese adults.
While Jackson had improved its ranking since 2017 (when it ranked #1), there's still room for improvement. Jackson, MS still has a high percentage of adults with high blood pressure who aren't eating enough fruits or vegetables.
Mobile has fallen into the number five slot for the fattest city in the nation, and number one for health consequences due to obesity. A large percentage of Mobile's population struggles with weight-related issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
In WalletHub's 2019 list of the United States fattest cities, Tulsa ranked at number 12. It was also ranked third in obesity and 13 in the food and fitness category.
Baton Rouge, LA
While down-home Cajun food and beignets are good for the soul, the same can't be said for your body. The Baton Rouge metropolitan area has the fifth-highest percentage of physically inactive adults and the fourth-highest percentage of adults who don't get enough fruits and vegetables.
Little Rock, AR
The Little Rock metropolitan area has the third-highest percentage in adults with high blood pressure and adults who don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. Little Rock was ranked at the number one spot of the fattest city back in 2015. Though it has improved, it remains in the top five.
The Toledo, OH metropolitan area has the second-highest percentage of obese adults and is ranked at the number eight spot on the list of 2019's fattest U.S. cities.
The Columbia, SC metropolitan area ranked number 14 in WalletHub's 2019 Fattest U.S. Cities list and placed ninth in percentage of obese adults and seventh in percentage of adults with high blood pressure.
San Antonio, TX
WalletHub found that San Antonio ranked 19 in its 2019 list of the U.S.'s fattest cities, making it the second-fattest city in Texas (right behind the McAllen metropolitan area which is ranked number one). San Antonio ranked 12th in obesity and 25th in food and fitness.
With restaurants on almost every corner, Lafayette, LA ranks number 11 on WalletHub's 2019 Fattest U.S. Cities list and tied for third with Chattanooga, TN for the highest percentage of inactive adults.
New Orleans, LA
Ranked number 15th in WalletHub's 2019 Fattest U.S. Cities list and had the second-highest percentage of adults living diabetes. Louisiana, in general, is also considered one of America's least healthy state with a rate of 36.2% of citizens being overweight or obese.
Ranked number 17 in WalletHub's 2019 Fattest U.S. Cities list, a significant improvement from last year when it ranked eighth in the nation. In addition to problems with adult obesity, childhood obesity is also on the rise in Kentucky with more than 20% of teens in the state qualifying as obese.
Nashville may be known as "Music City," but there's more than meets the eye. The Nashville metropolitan area was ranked the 18th fattest in the nation by WalletHub's 2019 Fattest U.S. Cities study and placed 11th for the highest percentage of overweight adults. The city itself has a total percentage of 24.7% of adults classifying as overweight or obese.
The Augusta-Richmond County metropolitan area was ranked 10th fattest in the nation by WalletHub's 2019 Fattest U.S. Cities study. Contributing to this ranking, Augusta gained the ranking of the fourth-highest percentage of obese adults and the second-highest percentage of adults not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
Brownsville has a major crisis on its hands. Health Affairs published that 80% of the children in the town are overweight. It only gets worse. Thirty percent have diabetes, and 67% of Brownsville residents don’t have health insurance.
Laredo Morning Times recently released statistics that stated 17% of its citizens smoke and 27% are physically inactive. On top of that, more than 30% of Laredo residents are obese. This is pretty bad since 35% are medically uninsured.
Hammond, in general, has subpar clinical care. It has half as many primary care physicians per capita compared to the rest of the nation. That becomes pretty important when you read that two out of five residents are obese.
Via 247WallSt, Beckley residents don’t have access to what it takes to be healthy. More than 47% of residents don’t exercise, and 22% of the residents smoke. Couple that with 34.2% of adults being obese, and Beckley becomes a pretty unhealthy place to live.
Fort Smith, AR
According to 247WallSt, nearly one-third of adults in Fort Smith don’t engage in exercise. That explains why 36.5% of adults are overweight. Furthermore, Fort Smith has the highest rate of smokers in the nation (22.7%).
Michigan found that Detroit has one of the highest prevalence of obesity among adults (38.1%). High blood pressure issues are also a major concern in the Michigan city, which has led to major healthcare changes to combat the problem.
Health data, via Montgomery County, reported that the city of Montgomery has more obese citizens compared to both the state and national levels. The female obesity rate sits at 45%, while the male obesity rate is 36%.
Corpus Christi, TX
Despite health programs, Corpus Christi is known for being incredibly unhealthy. More than 34% of adults are obese, a number that rose 4% in just six years. CallerTimes went on to explain that 24% of adults don’t get physical activity.
Columbus is better than a lot of cities, but it isn’t the best. The adult obesity rate sits at 30.6%, while the adult diabetes rate is 12.5%. Both of those statistics (via CityData) are higher than the state average.
TheStreet released the least-healthy cities in America, and Knoxville was among the unhealthiest. Why? It ranked number 10 in highest obesity rate, 19 in health consequences, and 14 in food and fitness rank.
WalletHub listed Chattanooga, TN as being the sixth least-healthy town in America. Times Free Press went further, reporting that 40% of Chattanoogans were overweight, with 18.6% of teenagers being obese.
Winston-Salem Journal found that the obesity rate in children is on the rise for the city’s students. In 2007, ninth grade sat at 37%. In 2013, that hit 42%, and it’s just getting worse. WalletHub also listed the metro area as being one of the least-healthy places in the United States.
San Bernardino, CA
San Bernardino has the highest rate of students with an unhealthy body composition with San Bernardino City school district topping the charts (48% overweight). The adult obesity rate hovers at 34%, which is lower than California as a whole, but that number is going up.
Kansas has the 12th highest adult obesity rate in the nation, and Wichita is the worst of the worst. The good news is that the city has been working on lowering obesity rates in children, and it’s working! Maybe, Wichita can turn things around.
Lubbock, TX is notorious for being extremely dangerous, but it’s also pretty unhealthy. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, it has a higher-than-national-rank for residents that suffer from heart diseases, stroke, and diabetes. On top of that, the prevalence of cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases is double that of the national average.
Cape Coral, FL
WalletHub took a look at every city in the U.S., and the results showed that Cape Coral was pretty unhealthy. Data USA went further to determine 39.6% of adults were obese, with 16.9% having diabetes—the highest in all the counties in the state.
Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Considered to be Canada's second-most obese city, right after Saint John, New Brunswick. Studies have also found that 33.8% of adults are obese, 9% more than the national average. Considered to be Canada's second-most obese city, right after Saint John, New Brunswick. Studies have also found that 33.8% of adults are obese, 9% more than the national average.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
The Canadian province of Saskatchewan holds the spot for the highest obesity rates in the country. Nearly half of its residents falling into the obese and overweight category (32% in 2018). In the city of Saskatoon, 31% of adults fell into the obese and overweight category.
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
In 2013-2014, 65.9% of adults in St. Johns self-reported to be overweight or obese, much higher than the national average at 53.8%. In reality, the percentage of adults who are obese or overweight in the St. John's metropolitan area comes out to 67.5%, a bit higher than the self-reported results.
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
The fattest city in Canada, studies have found that 38.1% of adults in the city are obese, a whole 13.3% higher than the national average of 24.8%. The Canadian province of New Brunswick also has a high percentage of overweight and obese adults at 71.5%, compared to the national 62%.
Bloemfontein, South Africa
South Africa's capital city has been reported to have the least-healthy citizens, coupled with the lowest amount of fruit and vegetable intake and the highest consumption of sugary foods and drinks. The city also has the second-lowest levels of physical activity.
Pretoria, South Africa
Residents of Pretoria aren’t known for their healthy body weight. They’re ranked almost last in the “healthy weight” category. If you couple that with having the lowest score in both sleep quality and physical activity, you have a bad combination which lands Pretoria on this list.
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Port Elizabeth comes in right behind Bloemfontein with the second-lowest healthy weight and came in second again for the consumption of sugary food and drinks. Its redeeming features are that its residents are more active than those in the capital city.
Mackay, Queensland, Australia
ABC News in Australia released last year that Mackay was the least-healthy city in the country. A total of 83.4% of adults are overweight or obese. This statistic has caused officials to consider a sugar tax as it has worked on other bad habits like smoking.
Wallasey, Wirral Borough, England
Wallasey has previously been called England's "fat-capital," and in the year 2016, hospitals in the city saw almost 10,000 cases of people coming in with obesity being their primary problem, and medics found that the patient's weight posed a problem for them.
Boston, Lincolnshire, England
In 2017, Boston was ranked in the top five fattest cities in the United Kingdom by fitness app WE:BO with 34% (or one of every three citizens) being obese or overweight.
Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
In 2018, Bradford was found to have the highest diabetes prevalence in the United Kingdom, and amongst those with Type 2 diabetes, nine out of 10 have been found to be obese or overweight.
Studies have found that Liverpool is currently dealing with a childhood obesity issue. More than 30% of children have been found overweight or obese, and the problem has been increasing since 2006.
Another British city with a childhood obesity problem. In 2016-2017, data showed that 12,000 school-aged children were overweight while another 2,500 were considered obese.
In 2018, Sunderland was ranked as the U.K.'s fifth-unhealthiest city by the Royal Society for Public Health and top 10 for highest numbers of fast food restaurants. In addition, Sunderland has the highest number of childhood obesity in the Northeast.
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England
Doncaster has been ranked as one of the worst places to live, according to JUS News. Now, Telegraph released a list of the cities with the highest obesity rate in England. Doncaster was second with 74.4% of overweight or obese adults.
Copeland, Cumbria, England
In Copeland, England, 75% of adults are overweight or obese. This is likely because less than 30% of adults in the city don’t participate in exercise. After BBC released this information, officials stated that it was time for a call to action.
Hong Kong, China
In a recent study, it was found that over half of Hong Kong residents over the age of 15 are obese or overweight. The study also found that almost 60% of people suffered from one or more conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Pago Pago, American Samoa
In Pago Pago, a whopping 94% of adults are obese, according to Daily Mail. It’s so bad that airlines are now asking passengers to stand on a scale with their luggage to determine the price of their ticket. Most food in America Samoa is expensive, but fast-food chains offer a cheap alternative for hungry families.