As Minnesota's obesity rate rises, people's sense of well-being decreases


The obesity rate in the United States increased again, and Minnesota is among four states that experienced a significant waistline jump, the 2014 Gallup HealthWays Well-Being Index released this week shows.

The rate of obesity – the percentage of people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher – rose last year to 27.7 percent nationwide, up from 27.1 percent in 2013. That's 2.2 percentage points higher than in 2008 when the survey began. The percentage of people who remain underweight remains steady at 2 percent, Gallup notes.

Minnesota ranks ninth for states with the lowest percentage of people who are obese at 24.8 percent, down five spots from 2013.

Obesity tied to sense of well-being

As obesity rates continue to rise, people's overall sense of well-being has dropped, the survey notes.

Gallup found Americans' desire to lose weight isn't matched by their efforts, and the desire to do so may stem from deficits in other areas of well-being:

"For example, if residents don't have a strong sense of purpose, struggle financially or lack supportive relationships, it will be much more difficult for them to buy healthy food, exercise regularly and achieve their weight loss goals."

The decline in overall well-being is reflected in Minnesota's well-being ranking, which has dropped from fourth in the nation in 2013 to 11th last year – the first time in the history of the survey Minnesota hasn't cracked the top 10.

The survey also looks at specific communities. The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area has ranked high since reporting began in 2008, but came in at No. 17 overall in 2014, down from No. 4 in 2013.

North Dakota also saw a significant decrease in its well-being ranking, as well as an increase in obesity. The state's well-being rank dropped from No. 1 in 2013 to No. 23 last year, while it's obesity ranking dropped from No. 24 in 2013 to No. 32 last year.

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