Study finds local areas have lowest obesity rates, highest life expectancy

WASHINGTON – As obesity rates continue to climb throughout the country, a handful of local areas reported some of the lowest obesity percentages for 2011.

In Virginia, Falls Church and Fairfax cities were among the top 10 areas for the lowest percentages of obesity in men in 2011. Also ranked in the top 10 was the District of Columbia, according to research published from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Falls Church City reported the lowest percentage of obesity for women in 2011, with a 17.6 percent obesity rate.

In addition, Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia and Montgomery County in Maryland ranked in the top 10 for the longest life expectancies for boys born in 2010, with Fairfax County leading the ranking at 81.67 years.

The study says that men in Fairfax County live longer than men in Japan or Switzerland. However, this trend is not reflected in other areas across the country. Overall, life expectancies increased slowly compared to other economically similar countries, the report says.

Montgomery and Fairfax counties also ranked in the top 10 areas for the longest life expectancies for women. However, in 1,405 counties in the U.S., there has been no major change in life expectancy in women in a quarter century.

The report also found that while obesity rates continue to increase in the U.S., more people are becoming physically active, and researchers predict this will have a positive effect on the overall health of Americans.

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