7 Michigan Cities Hit High Obesity Rates, Study Finds
The U.S. has the highest adult obesity rate among developed countries, according to the Global Obesity Observatory. Stacker, a data reporting platform, analyzed information from the CDC’s yearly PLACES report in July 2023 to determine the cities with the most significant proportion of obese adults.
Their ranking included cities with over 10,000 residents. The ran king was based on the percentage of survey participants having a BMI equal to or exceeding 30. This was calculated from their self-reported weight and height. In cases of a tie, the total population was considered.
A common way to measure obesity is using body mass index (BMI). This formula considers a person’s height and weight to determine if they are underweight, overweight, or at a healthy weight.
The study did note that the BMI metric is broadly defined, prompting several health experts to caution against its use as a comprehensive measure of overall health. In June 2023, the American Medical Association (AMA) introduced a revised policy regarding BMI usage, in response to a report from the AMA Council on Science and Public Health highlighting the limitations and historical concerns associated with BMI. Relying solely on BMI for diagnosing obesity and evaluating health doesn’t account for variables like age, sex, gender, race, and ethnicity. The AMA recommends healthcare professionals incorporate BMI alongside other assessment methods.
Michigan dominates list of cities with the highest rates of obesity
According to the study, Michigan has seven cities with the highest obesity rates. Five of these cities secure positions within the study’s top 10. Muskegon Heights holds the second position on the list, with a population of over 10,500 and an obesity rate of 55.5% among adults, one of the highest in the study. Following closely at number 3 is Beecher, with a population of around 10,200, and an adult obesity rate of 53.8%.
Other Michigan cities within the top 10 include Flint (#7), Benton Harbor (#8), and Saginaw (#9). Highland Park (#17) and Muskegon (#25) also find mention on the list, with adult obesity rates between 48.4% and 49.7%.
The number one city with the highest rates of obesity
The top spot on their list isn’t claimed by a Michigan city; it’s East St. Louis, Illinois. The study reveals that this city, home to more than 27,000 people, has an adult obesity rate of 57.9%.
The study also reveals a connection between obesity rates and poverty indexes among U.S. states. Many cities with high obesity rates tend to have lower rankings in terms of average income and educational achievement, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas of the South and Midwest.
If you’re curious to learn more about what the study uncovered, check out the complete study here.