Arizona is Getting Fat; Researchers Say Fast Food, Lack of Grocery Stores to Blame

The good news: Arizona placed in the top 10 in a national ranking. The bad news: It's a list of the top 10 states with the deadliest eating habits.

According to financial news website 24/7 Wall St., Arizona has the ninth-deadliest eating habits in the country, a ranking based on grocery stores per resident, fast food spending, and the amount of soft drinks and sweet snacks purchased.

Arizona places behind the soul-food stuffing of Mississippi and Alabama, the fried-mayonnaise-ball munching of Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma, as well as Nevada, South Dakota, and Ohio, which placed in spots one through eight, respectively.

Here's what 24/7 Wall St. had to say about Arizona:

9. Arizona

Grocery Stores Per 1,000 Residents: 0.17 (47th)

Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $761 (4th most)

Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 60 (21st least)

Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 109 (11th least)

Arizona has the second-fewest grocery stores per person, with only 0.17 for every 1,000 people. This illustrates a major restriction on healthy food access for one of the country's fastest growing states. One of the ways in which residents of Arizona are supplementing their diets is with fast food. Arizonans spent an average of $760.50 each on fast food in 2007, the fourth-greatest amount among the states.

The link the researchers make likely comes to the surprise of no one -- the poor diet habits cause obesity.

While it's noted that there's a national obesity epidemic, the folks at 24/7 Wall St. say the problems are local.

"That means there is not likely to be any one set of solutions created and funded at the federal level to solve the problem," they say. "Just as education results and their causes are hyper-local, so are the habits that cause unhealthy diets and their results."

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley