New data from the health app Lifesum reveals the top states splurging on the most junk food, providing new insight on how the environment influences what consumers choose to eat.
Roughly 35 million consumers log what they eat and drink, when they exercise, their weight and other lifestyle habits on Lifesum.
Data scientists with Lifesum recently analyzed this data, trying to see which states are eating the most junk food and which states are resisting the urge.
Their research found Alabama, Mississippi, Wyoming, North Dakota and Kentucky are eating the most high-caloric junk foods with few nutrients, indulging in more corn dogs, Pop Tarts, cinnamon rolls, jelly donuts and cookies than other states. Their data also identified the states that seem to be controlling their junk food urges the most.
Researchers with Lifesum specifically identified 27 common junk foods that are regularly logged on the app by Americans. Junk food was defined by Lifesum’s researchers as a “fattening food, drink or dessert” that had little nutritional value.
Kajsa Ernestam, Lifesum’s in-house nutritionist, said this research suggests the environment plays an influential role in what consumers choose to eat.
“If everyone in your house eats ice cream — and the freezer is packed with ice cream — then chances are you will crave that high-calorie treat when you are hungry,” Ernestam said. “The first step in eating healthier is understanding how our environment influences the foods we indulge in.”
Top states for junk food consumption
Lifesum concluded food cravings vary by state. Here’s a closer look at the states that craved the most of the 27 junk foods identified by Lifesum as high-caloric:
- Alabama: corn dogs, fries, nuggets and Pop Tarts
- Mississippi: burgers, fried chicken and cinnamon rolls
- Wyoming: glazed jelly donuts, KFC and beer
- North Dakota: cookies and shakes
- Kentucky: cheesecake and curly fries
- Hawaii: soda and mud pies
- Utah and Washington: chocolate
- New Jersey: pancakes
- Iowa: pizza
- Georgia: waffles
- West Virginia: blooming onion
- Nebraska: brownie bites
- New Hampshire: ice cream
- North Carolina: Oreo shakes
- Louisiana: Popeyes
Ernestam says this data enables Lifesum to create a customized health plan based on an individual’s lifestyle and eating obstacles.
“Lifesum helps Americans across the country identify their cravings and vices so they are better equipped for long-term weight loss,” Ernestam said. “This data is an important tool that helps our health team better guide consumers towards healthier lifestyles.”
Lifesum uses technology and psychology to create a tailored plan for users, improving the way they eat, drink and exercise. Whether the user’s goal is to get fitter, lose weight or just lead a healthier lifestyle, Lifesum shows consumers how changing small habits and implementing them in everyday life can improve their overall health.
Users who download Lifesum get access to an extensive self-assessment test to identify personal goals and motivations. In addition, Lifesum continually questions consumers on their actions, helping the program better evaluate and identify what works, and what doesn’t.