Top 10 US Cities with Biggest Obesity Problems

March 29th 2016
Meghan Ross, Senior Associate Editor

Is obesity a big issue in your area?

Is obesity a big issue in your area?

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants working at retail clinics in communities where obesity is ubiquitous may want to consider implementing enhanced weight-loss programs or delicately broaching the subject with their patients. By doing so, retail clinicians can help lower the growing medical care costs related to obesity.

Bloombergrecently reported that in 2010, obesity raised health care costs by $315.8 billion, or around $3508 per obese patient. Back in 2005, expenses were within the $213 billion range after adjusting for inflation. Obesity-related costs include medical appointments, hospital stays, prescription drugs, and home health care.

Here are the 10 metro areas that currently need the most help with lowering patients’ weight, according to WalletHub:

Rank

Metro Area

Score

Weight-Related Health Problems Rank

1

Memphis, TN

76.97

2

2

Shreveport-Bossier City, LA

75.24

1

3

Indianapolis, IN

73.88

25

4

Jackson, MS

73.75

3

5

New Orleans, LA

72.94

4

6

Chattanooga, TN

72.31

6

7

Mobile, AL

72.26

8

8

San Antonio, TX

71.26

42

9

Greenville, SC

71.24

17

10

Little Rock, AR

70.89

15

There are a number of ways nurse practitioners and physician assistants in these areas can help their patients lose weight.

First things first, retail clinicians can help patients set achievable goals and expectations. Guidelines recommend patients lose 5% to 10% of their body weight in the first 6 months, but if patients are struggling to meet this goal, reassure them that even a 3% to 5% weight loss has shown clinical benefit. Women should shoot for 1200 to 1500 calories daily if they want to lose weight, while men should aim for 1500 to 1800 calories daily.

In addition, some relatively easy steps that patients can take include reducing their intake of soda and juice, which can pack a considerable amount of liquid calories, and parking their car far away from their destination so that they can include more physical activity into their day. Food diaries can also help patients keep themselves accountable for what they consume, as well as help maintain a consistent eating pattern from weekdays through weekends.

To create its rankings, WalletHub looked at 100 of the most populated metro areas and examining more than a dozen factors, such as the number of obese and overweight patients, percentage of physically inactive adults, and percentage of adults who consume fewer than 1 serving of fruit or vegetables per day.

Broken down just by the highest percentage of overweight adults, WalletHub said Anchorage, Arkansas; Asheville, North Carolina; and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut were the top 3 areas.

Based solely on the highest percentages of obese adults, Memphis, Tennessee; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jackson, Mississippi were the 3 most problematic areas. Memphis also had the highest percentage of physically inactive adults, as well.

Dayton, Ohio, was the area with the highest percentage of adults with high cholesterol. Meanwhile, Canton-Massillon, Ohio, had the highest percentage of diabetic adults, and Mobile, Alabama, had the highest number of adults with high blood pressure.

There was a 4-way tie for the highest percentage of adults who consume fewer than 1 serving of fruit and vegetables per day: New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana.

WalletHub used data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, county health rankings, the US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, and its own research to create these rankings.

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