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NJ’s Obesity Rate Below the National Average [AUDIO]

Compared to other states, New Jersey’s obesity problem isn’t so bad. New Jersey had the 15th lowest obesity rate in the United States last year, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

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Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The national rate reached its highest level, 27.1 percent, since the Index began tracking it in 2008. Mississippi topped the states with a rate at 35.4 percent, while Montana boasted the lowest rate at 19.6 percent.

“New Jersey looks pretty good in comparison at 24.9 percent obese,” said Dan Witters, research director for the Index.

The Garden State displayed a mixture of strengths and weaknesses when it comes to factors that feed into obesity, all of which can be found in other segments of the Well-Being Index.

More than 83 percent of New Jersey adults indicated they don’t smoke, helping the state rank fifth in the nation.

“The fewer smokers you have, generally the lower your obesity rate will be. That’s certainly the case in Jersey,” Witters said.

Good emotional health also helps reduce the obesity level, according to Witters, and the Garden State ranked number one in the nation for the lowest depression rate in 2013.

New Jerseyans could exercise more, though. Less than 50 percent said they exercise regularly, and only three other states posted worse results.

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