JACKSON, Miss., March 5 (UPI) -- After being knocked from the top three years ago by West Virginia, Mississippi has regained its title as the fattest state.
According to a new Gallup poll, the Magnolia State has more obese residents per capita than anywhere else in the United States.
Every year since 2008, Gallup has polled thousands of adults inquiring about their height and weight. As part of what's called the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the polling company calculates each survey participant's body mass index, or BMI. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
Ironically, the news comes almost exactly a year after Mississippi legislatures voiced their displeasure with government regulation of diet habits -- passing "The Anti-Bloomberg Bill" with overwhelming bi-partisan support.
"If you look at how menus have changed, whether it be in fast food or family dining, you are seeing more and more healthy options," Mike Cashion, executive director the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association, told NPR in March 2013. "Not because of legislative mandates or regulatory mandates, but because of consumer demand. Our industry has always been one to respond to the marketplace."
West Virginia, Delaware, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky and Oklahoma help Mississippi round out the top ten most obese states.
Mississippi is also one of the poorest states in the U.S., and previous studies demonstrate a strong link between poverty and obesity.
The Gallup poll found the fattest states also hosted higher rates of high cholesterol, diabetes, depression and cancer.
While Mississippi took the cake -- literally -- as the fattest, Montana weighs in as the leanest.