California is the third-largest state in the US, behind Alaska and Texas. However, California is the most populated state, with nearly 10 million more people than Texas and almost 18 million more than Florida. The Golden State is also the most economically robust state, with a $3.4 trillion gross state product (GSP) as of 2021 — nearly 15 percent of the entire US’s GDP. If California were a sovereign nation at the time of this article’s publication, it would be the fifth-largest economy in the world.
Accounting for all 58 counties in California, those closer to the Pacific ocean generally ranked better for overall health than their non-coastal counterparts. Check out the graphic below, which displays how each county’s obesity percentage has changed from 2012 to 2022. San Francisco ranked highest overall, dropping from 17 to 16 percent obesity over that decade, but dropping 10 percent when comparing it against the state average:
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[Related: California’s 50 Top Cities for Fit Lifestyles]
San Francisco, at 16 percent obesity in 2022, was the only county in California with sub-20 percent obesity. Of the 58 counties, 29 of them have an obesity percentage of 30 or higher as of 2022: Stanislaus, Yuba, San Joaquin, Madera, Merced, Calaveras, Lassen, Solano, Yolo, Alpine, Glenn, Lake, Riverside, San Bernardino, Tulare, Del Norte, Modoc, San Benito, Sierra, Siskiyou, Butte, Colusa, Kern, Kings, Mendocino, Fresno, Monterey, Tehama, and Imperial. Fresno is the most obese at 38 percent.
Only six of the 58 counties kept their obesity percentages static over the decade spanning 2012 to 2022: Contra Costa, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Shasta, Stanislaus, and Yuba. Only San Francisco lowered it (by one point). Imperial absorbed the most significant increase in obesity of any county, up 11 percent from 25 percent in 2012 to 36 percent in 2022. Monterey and Tehama were close behind, with 10 percent increases each.
When comparing counties’ obesity rates by state average over the decade, San Francisco still ranks highest with a 10-point drop. Nevada, Orange, and Placer dropped a percentage point. Contra Costa, San Diego, and Alameda each dropped two percent. Marin dropped three points. Santa Clara and San Mateo dropped five points. Every other county increased its obesity rates by the state average.
Featured image via Shutterstock/Marek Masik