iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Put down the crawdads. Mississippi has unseated West Virginia for the title of fattest state for the first time in three years, with an obesity rate of 35.4 percent. But the state just inched past West Virginia, where the obesity rate registered 34.4 percent.
Gallup has compiled this list every year since 2008 by asking a random sample of 178,072 adults about their height and weight, calculating their body mass index, or BMI, as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Anyone with a BMI greater than 30 is classified as obese.
Mississippi’s fattest-state crowning follows the passage of its so-called “anti-Bloomberg bill” last March, which prevents municipalities from limiting how much Mississippians can eat or drink. The governor signed the bill a week after a judge blocked former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s supersize soda ban.
On the flip side, Montana was crowned the state with the lowest obesity rate of 19.6 percent, down from 22.0 percent in 2012. However, the national obesity rate edged up to 27.1 percent from 26.2 percent.
According to the poll, people living in the 10 fattest states were more likely to have chronic diseases, including high cholesterol, diabetes, depression and cancer.
States with Highest Obesity Rates:
West Virginia: 34.4%
South Carolina: 31.4%
States with Lowest Obesity Rates:
New Mexico: 23.5%
New York: 24.0%
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