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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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2022 WalletHub Study: DFW Ranks as One of the Most Overweight Cities

Health

Someone stepping onto a scale. | Image from Getty Images

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The metro area of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington is among the top 30% most overweight metro areas in the nation, according to a 2022 WalletHub Study.

The 2022 WalletHub Study — Most Overweight and Obese Cities in the U.S. found that Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro ranked No. 27 out 100 cities for obesity, partly because 35.4% of adults in the area have high cholesterol.

“[The 2022 WalletHub Study ranking] means that obesity is a serious concern for the city’s residents,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub. “This health issue should be addressed as it could have fatal consequences.”

Other factors contributing to the ranking include a large share of overweight teenagers and children, at 17.8% and 16.7%, respectively, a large percentage of obese children at 20.3%, and a large share of physically inactive adults at 26%, according to the data.

“[This data] means [residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area] are in poor physical health, which is especially dangerous during the pandemic as it significantly increases the risk of serious symptoms and hospitalization,” Gonzalez said in an interview.

According to media reports, people who are obese are at a higher risk of being infected with COVID-19.

“Having a high share of obese people has a negative impact on a city’s economy because it raises the cost of obesity-related medical treatments and lowers productivity due to work absenteeism,” Gonzalez told The Dallas Express.

The 2022 WalletHub Study also found that Dallas residents ranked No. 33 for food and fitness, according to Gonzalez.

“Dallas metro residents are not doing a great job at eating healthy or being physically active,” she said. “This too can have serious consequences for their overall health.”

Overall, the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Texas metropolitan area ranked No. 1 with an obese population of about 45%.

“As a consequence, the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area has the fourth-largest share of diabetic adults at 13.6%, and a high heart disease rate,” Gonzalez said. “Some of the reasons why McAllen is struggling with obesity include limited access to healthy food and the large share of physically inactive adults at almost 37%, which in turn is due to the lack of access to parks and recreational facilities.”

The 2022 WalletHub Study further found that Boston, MA, is the city with the least obesity.

“Having a low share of obese people means that the city has healthier residents, which lowers healthcare costs overall,” she said. “Plus, healthy people are more active and productive, which can boost a city’s economy.”

Also known as Beantown, 22.5% of Boston’s adults are obese, and less than 12% of the area’s children are overweight.

“Because of this, the metro area has a low share of diabetic adults at just 7%, a low share of adults with high blood pressure at about 24%, and a low heart disease rate,” Gonzalez added.

According to Gonzalez, another reason Boston outranks Texas cities is due to its large number of health educators and community health workers per capita.

“To catch up with Boston, McAllen and Dallas need to have fewer people with diabetes and a lower obesity-related death rate,” she said. “They should have more access to healthy food, more physically active adults, more access to exercise opportunities, and more health educators and community health workers.”

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