Massachusetts has claim to significant advances in American history, such as the first subway system in Boston in 1897. Every time one eats a Fig Newton, they might think about the city in Massachusetts they are named after. Perhaps they are enjoying those sweet treats on their way to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield or to the first public park in America, the Boston Common.
Maybe tourists might travel to Agawam, which touts the first U.S.Postal zip code (01001), or to Clark University in Worcester, where the birth control pill was invented. If college tours are on the agenda, then the first college established in the US, Harvard, is likely a stop most will make. Forty-three cities and 308 towns make up the fourteen counties in Massachusetts.
Unfortunately, none of those counties reduced their population’s obesity percentages over the decade spanning 2012 to 2022. Only one county — Middlesex — maintained the same obesity percentage of 23 percent during those 10 years. Every other county’s obesity percentage rose by at least one point. Check out the infographic below with data for all 14 counties:
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[Related: Massachusetts’ Top 50 Cities for Fit Lifestyles]
Although none of the counties in Massachusetts decreased their obesity percentage, the state as a whole did not fare as poorly relative to other states. Only three of 14 counties in Massachusetts have an obesity percentage of at least 30 percent as of 2022: Hampden, Worcester, and Bristol — the latter being the highest at 32 percent.
Dukes suffered the steepest increase in obesity percentage, leaping eight points from 19 percent in 2012 to 27 percent in 2022. The next closest county was Barnstable, with a six percent jump from 18 percent to 24 percent. Those two counties were the only counties with a sub-20 percent obesity percentage in 2012.
All 14 Massachusetts counties have an obesity percentage of at least 22 percent. Norfolk is the least obese county in 2022, though its obesity percentage rose two points over the decade. If grading each county on a curve, Norfolk also performed strongest with a three-point decrease relative to the other 13 counties. The overall percentage across the state still shows that more than one in every four people is considered obese.
Featured image via Shutterstock/Sean Pavone