The First State appears to be last in fitness

March 22, 2014

It appears Delaware has a lot of explaining to do when it comes to fitness, as two recent studies claim we are not only among the most obese states in the country but also the laziest and least likely to hit the gym. I have to say I’m speechless, but I thought it was worth bringing the bad news to my fellow Delawareans with the hopes of motivating just a few of you to prove the so-called experts wrong and make Delaware fit again.

Third in obesity

I don’t know if it’s the abundance of awesome restaurants, trendy bars or blue-collar workers with little time to cook healthy meals, but according to Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index, Delaware ranks third in the country in obesity, with experts estimating that 1/3 of the people living in the second smallest state in the union are larger than they are supposed to be. It is a wonder we have room for everybody. Only Mississippi and West Virginia beat us for the dubious honor, and both Virginia and Maryland, although close in location, were distant in bad health, scoring much better than Delaware. According to the same poll, Montana has the lowest obesity rate, Colorado is the second healthiest and Nevada grabs the honors as the third healthiest state.

First in laziness

In another Gallup poll last week, Delaware was ranked No. 1 in laziness due to our infrequent and rather short bouts of exercising. According to the state of the state Gallup poll on exercising, fewer than half of those polled in the First State reported working out three times a week for 30 minutes or more, while Vermont scored the most active with 63.3 percent exercising on a regular basis, followed by Hawaii, Montana and Alaska, all of which reported a 60 percent plus participation rate. To add insult to injury, Delaware was also ranked the fourth least likely to eat five servings of vegetables a day, with Vermont, Montana and Washington placing in the top 3 in vegetable consumption.

What does it all mean?

The bottom line is that states that consistently scored high in obesity and low in exercise participation were also more likely to score higher rates of chronic disease, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and even though Delaware didn’t top the list in states leading with these types of health issues, it doesn’t look good for the future health of the First State if something doesn’t change fast. States with consistently high obesity rates also reported residents were more likely to experience high cholesterol, heart attacks, knee pain, headaches and depression. These states also reported large numbers of people who said health issues prevent them from doing things people their age normally are able to do.

So, the next time you consider skipping the gym, remember that investing three to four days a week working out, adopting healthy eating habits and living an active lifestyle is a small price to pay for quality of life and long-term health. Hopefully, Delaware will improve over the next couple years and rise to better health through exercising.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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