These Are The 10 Fattest Cities In Wisconsin

We used science and data to determine which WI cities need to back off on the brats and beer.

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

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The national obesity rate continues to increase, as more than 27% of Americans are considered obese. According to the latest Gallup obesity index, Wisconsin is the 14th fattest state in the nation, as more than 31% of its residents are tipping the scales way past normal.

Perhaps it’s all of the cheese, brats and beer up there in Wisconsin.

We have to admit…if we lived in Wisconsin, we’d have a hard time laying off the great food up there as well.

We were curious as to which cities in Wisconsin are the fattest. So, we ran the numbers of the most populous cities in the state. After crunching the numbers, here are the Fattest Cities in Wisconsin:

  1. Janesville
  2. Appleton
  3. Eau Claire
  4. Racine
  5. Janesville
  6. Milwaukee
  7. Beloit
  8. Kenosha
  9. Wausau
  10. Brookfield
  11. Green Bay

Read on below to see how your town ranked.


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How do you determine how fat a city is?

In order to rank the fattest cities in Wisconsin, we had to determine what criteria makes a city’s residents fatter than others. There are two basic criteria that we used. The county level obesity rates for all of Wisconsin’s cities, and the number of fast food restaurants within a city’s border.

By fast food, we measured all typical fast food restaurants (i.e. McDonald’s) as well as other non-traditional, but relatively unhealthy ‘fast food’ places to eat (such as quick sit down restaurants that serve beer and burgers.)

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers

Using the latest numbers from the Center for Disease Control and Yelp, we generated a ranking of each city based on the following criteria:

  • A county ranking based on obesity rates
  • Number of fast food and quick meal restaurants in each city within that county
  • Number of gyms per capita

Note: We measured only the cities in Wisconsin with the highest populations. When we measured all cities, we had more than 100 cities with less than 1,000 people with high obesity and no fast food restaurants within a 30-minute drive.


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1. Janesville

Population: 64,765

Culver’s, Janesville, WI

Janesville takes the cake (quite literally, it seems) as being the fattest city in Wisconsin. Let’s see why.

First off, Rock County (where Janesville is), has by far the most obese residents in the state. More than 34% of the population of Rock County is considered obese, according to the CDC.

And within Rock County, the city of Janesville has more than 70 fast food type establishments, which is one of the highest we measured. Essentially, there are lots of junk food options in Janesville, when compared to other cities in the state.

And there are 15 gyms in Janesville, which is one of the lowest numbers we measured.

2. Appleton

Population: 75,234

Dairy Queen, Appleton, WI

Perhaps the residents of Appleton need to eat more apples.

Outagamie County, where Appleton is, has the 4th highest obesity rate in the state, at 32%. Plus, there are also nearly 100 ‘fast food’ type options in Appleton, which is also very high.

For what it’s worth, Appleton has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, at 6.7%. And Appleton has 30 gyms, which is the 5th most per capita.

Hopefully, folks in Appleton start using them.

3. Eau Claire

Population: 66,585

Taco John’s, Eau Claire, WI

More than 32% of the residents in Eau Claire are considered obese, which is the 3rd highest number at the county level that we measured. Eau Claire ranks 10th in the state for the number of fast food restaurants per person.

And Eau Claire has the 3rd lowest number of gyms per capita.

4. Racine

Population: 79,000

Kewpee, Racine, WI

Racine County is the 5th fattest county that we measured, where nearly 32% of the residents are considered obese, according to the CDC.

And within Racine County, the city of Racine has nearly 100 fast food type establishments, which is one of the highest we measured. Essentially, there are lots of junk food options in Racine, when compared to other cities in the state.

There are 19 gyms in Racine.

5. Milwaukee

Population: 549,328

Taco Bell, Milwaukee, WI

As you can imagine, Milwaukee has the highest number of fast food establishments in the state. Did you know that there are over 650 places in Milwaukee where you can get a quick bite to eat? That’s not healthy, and the residents here are paying for it.

Milwaukee County is the 7th most obese city in the state, where 31% of residents are more than tipping the scales.

6. Beloit

Population: 37,079

Arby’s, Beloit, WI

Beloit is also in Rock County (the fattest county in Wisconsin). While there aren’t as many ‘bad’ eating options here as there are in Janesville, there’s still just about 1 fast food type place to eat for every 1,000 citizens.

7. Kenosha

Population: 100,304

Fast food in Kenosha, WI

Kenosha County residents are obese at a 32% clip, and the city of Kenosha has the 11th highest number of fast food restaurants per person.

Perhaps the proximity to Chicago’s fine cuisine is starting to stretch Kenosha waistlines.

8. Wausau

Population: 40,858

Hardee’s, Wausau, WI

Marathon County is the 12th fattest county in Wisconsin, where nearly 30% of residents are way overweight. And, to make matters worse, Wausau has the 5th highest number of fast food restaurants available to its residents.

These factors make it harder to lay off the bad stuff when you’re already well on your way to being fat.

Wausau has the lowest number of gyms per capita of the large cities we measured.

9. Brookfield

Population: 39,567

Chipotle, Brookfield, WI

Poor Brookfield. Waukesha County as a whole is actually right on par for the national average for obesity, but the city of Brookfield has the 2nd highest number of junk food establishments in the state of Wisconsin.

Which makes Brookfield the centerpoint of bad food within that entire region, and a tough place to avoid bad foods and get healthy.

10. Green Bay

Population: 104,345

A & W, Green Bay, WI

Perhaps too many tailgating parties, squeaky cheese, Leinenkugel’s and bratwurst are making Green Bay residents way over their healthy weight.

Or perhaps it’s the rest of the junk options for eating. While Brown County is the 15th fattest county in the state, residents have to contend with having the 4th most fast food restaurants in the state.

Or, as it appears, they’ve embraced having all that junk food. After all, you only live once, right, Wisconsin?

God Bless America.

There You Have It

If you’re looking at which of Wisconsin’s largest cities have the most obese residents, this is a fair list.

The most obese county in Wisconsin is Menominee County, where 41% of residents are way overweight.

If you’re curious enough, here are the skinniest counties in Wisconsin, according to the CDC:

  1. Dane County
  2. La Crosse County
  3. Waupaca County
  4. Walworth County
  5. Waukesha County

Disclaimer: This article is an opinion based on data. It should not be taken as fact.

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.