Men’s Fitness Shines the Spotlight on America’s Chunkiest Cities
If you’re reading this from Philly, put down the cheese steak. All you dudes in Detroit, drop and do twenty. Why am I singling out big city folk, you ask? Well, if you’ve read the most recent issue of “Men’s Fitness,” you’d know that cities like Philadelphia and Detroit are not only big in population, but big around the gut. The popular fitness magazine published its list of the 25 Fattest Cities this month, shining a spotlight on the country’s most obese urban areas. North, south, east and west, America is the land of the free and the home of the face-stuffers. Hopefully, there’s something we can all learn from our country’s most gluttonous cities.
I lived in Philadelphia for four years. Before I fell into the lucrative freelance writing industry, I worked in a generic office setting, cubicles and all, in West Philly. Witnessing what I did at this organization (e.g. frequent trips to the vending machine, daily cheese steak-eating, Twinkie binging) I don’t find it surprising that Philadelphia is the 14thfattest city in the country. Not only did most of the people I worked with eat junk like Doomsday was right around the corner, but practically no one worked out. The City of Brotherly Love is unfortunately not alone in its fat-titude.
Whether you live in one of the guilty cities or not, you can learn by example from them what not to do in terms of fitness and nutrition. Take Houston, the fattest city in the country. It’s no coincidence that Texas’ largest city is also its fattest, considering it boasts the most fast food joints in the country. Eating fast food is basically telling yourself you’re cool with love handles, fat rolls and heart disease. Oh, and in case you weren’t aware, drinking doesn’t exactly lead to chiseled abs. Consider Cleveland, where 18.4 percent of residents are binge drinkers and, unsurprisingly, nearly 41 percent are overweight. If you value lean muscle mass, it’s best to sit a few drinks out and pretend that tap water you’re sipping is vodka.
I’m not suggesting you give up cheeseburgers and beer altogether. It’s (sadly) part of what makes us American. What you can learn from these fat-ass cities is that moderation and regular fitness are key in maintaining a healthy weight. Depriving yourself of gorditas altogether and hitting the gym seven days a week might be ideal, but it’s not really realistic. How about eating healthy during the week and spoiling yourself with pizza on Saturday night? Does three or four days a week of exercise sound manageable?
If folks in Tampa, Florida (number 5) and Indianapolis, Indiana (number 13) just practiced self-moderation and worked out a few hours a week, you can be sure they’d be off this embarrassing list in no time. Whether you live in Las Vegas (number 6) or Scranton, Pennsylvania, it’s your choice to eat crap and sit around or eat crap once in a while and work out a little. Take small steps and encourage everyone in your social network to do the same and you can be sure your city won’t be seen as a fatty hive any time soon.
About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.