Top 10 fittest states in the US 2021
The healthiest states according to the CDC
Team USA has been killing it at the Olympics in Tokyo! The US is set up for success in the games, with 612 top athletes coming from almost every state in the country. While the biggest states usually send the most athletes (for example, this year 20% of our athletes come from California), it is clear that every state has top talents ready to compete. But what about the general population? Are the states with the most Olympic athletes also the healthiest states overall? Holidu, the search engine for vacation rentals, decided to find out which states are actually the fittest! So lace up your sneakers and get ready for the line-up of the healthiest states in the US. This list was compiled using data from the CDC on different health scores, and the data highlights that:
- Vermont, sending only 3 Olympic athletes, is the healthiest state
- The West Coast dominates the list with 7 states in the top 10
- California, the state that sends the most Olympic athletes, comes in at 10th place
1. Vermont – Health score: 9.80 – Team USA Athletes: 3
The second-smallest state takes the title of the healthiest state in the US. Vermont’s mountainous natural parks are the perfect places for sports such as rowing, hiking, and biking, and it looks like the Vermont population takes advantage of this! The Vermonters do the most exercise out of all US citizens. The state also has the highest percentage of recommended fruit and vegetable consumption. Vermont’s Olympic athletes this year compete in some of the most popular sports including; rowing, rugby and track. Brooke Mooney, from Peru, VT, is competing on the women’s eight rowing team. She has recently set the women’s world record for the fastest time in the 2000 meters on an indoor rowing machine. Like many Vermonters, Mooney is very active and even used to be a competitive cross-country skier. Another athlete, Ilona Maher from the other side of the state, Burlington, competed in the women’s rugby sevens team that reached the quarterfinals. The final Vermont athlete is Elle Purrier St. Pierre from Montgomery. She participates in the 1500-meter event in Track & Field, and has qualified for the semifinals on Wednesday, August 4th.
image: Japan Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – credit 李 季霖 via flickr
2. District of Columbia – Health score: 9.74 – Team USA Athletes: 3
In second place, although not technically a state, is the District of Columbia. This is because the district consistently ranks in the top 5 for all four health factors. DC’s population is very active, with biking and jogging among the most popular sports of the district. Water sports are also very popular because of the Potomac River and several canals running through the district. And of course, team sports like basketball or baseball are very popular too, with a lot of amateur and semi-professional clubs in DC. One of DC’s Olympics athletes is basketball player Kevin Durant, a three-time Olympian who has already won gold twice: once in Rio and once in London. Durant and the USA basketball team will be playing the semifinals on August 5th. Athlete Katharine Holmes was born and raised in DC, where she started fencing at the age of 9. She reached fifth place in the women’s Team Epee Fencing event. The final DC athlete is Taylor Knibb, the youngest woman ever to qualify for the US Triathlon team. This was her first time competing in the Olympic Games, and with her teammates, she won the silver medal in the mixed triathlon relay event.
3. Colorado – Health score: 9.70 – Team USA Athletes: 31
The state of Colorado takes third place. This state has always been a hotspot for skiers, but other mountain sports and team sports are also hugely popular to participate in among its population. That’s why Colorado has one of the lowest percentages for physical inactivity compared to other states! While snow sports are where this state shines the most, Colorado still has one of the highest Summer Olympic athlete per capita ratios of all states. This year, Colorado athletes have already won gold four times: Amber English and Will Shaner both won gold for their events in shooting, Anastasija Zolotic grabbed gold in the featherweight category of the Taekwondo event and Valarie Allman won a gold medal for her discus throw. A lot of Colorado athletes still have to compete this week. Some of the events where you can cheer for a Colorado athlete are: track cycling (Maddie Godby), the pentathlon (Amro ElGeziry and Samantha Schultz) and sport climbing (Brooke Raboutou and Colin Duffy). Don’t miss out on your opportunity to cheer them on!
4. Montana – Health score: 9.39 – Team USA Athletes: 3
Moving on to fourth place, we find Montana. This state has the highest percentage of people that regularly exercise after Vermont, and also scores low on the obesity scale. While Montana does not have any major league sports teams, its minor league teams, college, and high school teams are some to watch out for! Practicing team sports like football and basketball in a non-professional way is also very popular among the population. At the Olympics, the Montanan athletes competed in two of the state’s most popular sports: rugby and shooting. Rugby player Nicole Heavirland from Whitefish, won sixth place with the women’s rugby team, while Alison Weisz (from Belgrade) and Nick Mowrer (from Butte) both gave it their all in the shooting range.
5. Washington – Health score: 9.36 – Team USA Athletes: 8
We’re staying in the West: Washington takes fifth place, only 0.3 points behind number four! The state regularly hosts national, high-profile sport events and is a haven for all football, baseball and hockey players. Thanks to the Pacific coastline, water sports are also pretty popular among its population, as well as endurance sports. These varied sports activities are also reflected on the Washington athletes who compete in this year’s Olympics: these 8 athletes each compete in a different discipline, which is unheard of for states with 5 or more athletes at the Olympics. Only 2 of the 8 athletes have competed already. Weightlifter Harrison Maurus placed fourth place in the 81kg category, and gymnast Jordan Chichles won a silver medal for the artistic gymnastics team event. She and other athletes like Zach Lavine (basketball), Katrina Young (diving) and Nevin Harrison (canoe sprint) will still compete for gold this week.
6. Connecticut – Health score: 9.24 – Team USA Athletes: 4
The second Northeast state in the top 10 comes in sixth place! Thanks to its great geography, Connecticut is an outdoor sports paradise. From hiking and biking on one of the many great trails in the state, to taking a swing on one of many golf courses or practicing water sports on its rivers, the Connecticut population takes advantage of the state’s geography. This combined with the state’s high score in healthy eating habits has earned it the spot of sixth place. At the Olympics, Connecticut athlete Kieran Smith from Ridgefield has performed well, winning a bronze medal in the 400 meter swimming event. Also competing for the bronze medal is Alyssa Naeher, who will defend the goal of the USA soccer team during this week’s bronze medal soccer match.
7. Utah – Health score: 9.23 – Team USA Athletes: 4
Possibly the biggest surprise on this list is Utah on position number seven. Mountain sports, especially climbing, are big in Utah, largely because of the remarkable climbing locations you can find in the state. Traditionally, team sports such as football and soccer have always been extremely popular with the people of Utah, not just to watch but also to play. In fact, over 80% of the Utah population participates in some form of physical activity per month, making it the highest scoring state for this statistic and earning it a place in the top ten. Utah swimmer Rhyan White has given it her all during her first time at the Olympics, placing fourth in the 200 meter backstroke event. Another Utah athlete, Nathaniel Coleman from Salt Lake City, will compete at the sport climbing event later this week.
8. Hawaii – Health score: 9.23 – Team USA Athletes: 9
Coming in at eighth place ranks Hawaii! In contrast with the previous state, Hawaii has always been a state that’s very well-known as a famous sports location. While water sports are definitely the main interest of Hawaii’s population, the islands also have beautiful trails for hiking and other outdoor activities. The remarkable environment has motivated the Hawaiian population to go out in nature and exercise, making Hawaii one of the states with the lowest obesity rates in the country. As was expected, Hawaii sent several surfers to the Olympics, and Honolulu-native Carissa Moore managed to grab gold during the women’s surfing event.
9. Minnesota – Health score: 9.20 – Team USA Athletes: 12
The Minnesotans’ love of football and track has brought their state all the way up to position nine of this ranking! While the state may not rank extremely high on any of the health factors, its score still was consistent and solid to get the state into the top ten. Apart from team sports, Minnesotans also like to participate in track and field events. Track has been the top pick as a high school sport for several years in a row now, and the number of kids choosing to sign up for track is rising every year. This year gymnast Sunisa Lee from Saint Paul is participating in the Olympics for the first time, and has won 3 medals: gold for best all-round performance, silver for team performance, and bronze for her performance on the uneven bars.
10. California – Health score: 9.14 – Team USA Athletes: 126
California closes the top ten of the fittest states! The state with most Olympic athletes have always had a reputation for being healthy, which is why it is no surprise that California makes this list. Apart from the classic team sports like football and basketball, water sports are also very popular among Californians, from the obvious surfing and sailing to water polo. In fact, the US water polo teams competing in the Olympics this year is almost exclusively made up of Californian athletes. With 20% of Team USA coming from California, it’s no wonder that this state’s Olympians have managed to snatch quite a few medals. Kelsey Plum and the women’s 3×3 basketball team won gold for their event, Steffen Peters and Sabine Schut-Kery won a silver medal for the equestrian dressage team event, and Xander Schauffele won gold at men’s golf, among others. Like many others, many Californian athletes haven’t even competed yet, so get ready to root some more for Team USA!
Discover the rest of the ranking in the table below:
The ranking was created by Holidu, the search engine for vacation rentals, based on four different health statistics from CDC data on obesity, physical inactivity, exercise, fruit and vegetable intake. We analyzed the data for adults in all 50 of the United States From those four factors, we calculated the average percentage of healthy adults per state, and assigned each state a score out of 10.