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Houston, the Fattest City in America?

It's that time again for the list of the nation's fittest and fattest cities, as selected in a non-scientific survey by Men's Fitness. Last year, Detroit topped the list of "fattest cities," unseating Houston which had earned that dubious distinction the previous three years, while always sunny and gorgeous Honolulu was named the fittest city.

Seattle topped the seventh annual 2005 fittest cities list, partly because, in the eyes of the magazine's "experts," an estimated 85 percent of residents get some exercise every month. On the other hand, Houston regained the top spot in the fattest cities list. (This link will take you to the newest 2005 lists.)

Men's Fitness compared 50 cities by weighing 14 factors including the following:

  • Fast-food restaurants per capita
  • TV watching
  • Air quality
  • Parks

For example, sporting goods stores and gyms outnumber fast-food joints in Seattle. However, one longtime Houston columnist wasn't very surprised about the honor, considering there's either a Krispy Kreme or Shipley's Donuts stand on every street corner.

Another interesting factoid: McDonald's, the king of fast-food lampooned and reviled in Morgan Spurlock's MUST-SEE documentary Super Size Me," test-marketed its "Salads and More" program in some 240 Houston restaurants. It's also the same restaurant chain that's currently advertising its "Double Quarter Pounder" on Houston TV stations too using the "Pound one down" tag line too.

As I advised last time, you may not be able to anything about geography -- living in a "fat city" -- but my Web site features loads of information that can help you improve your health today. Your first major step toward optimal health should be to determine your body's unique nutritional type. I invite you to take our free online test and retool your diet based on the results.

You'll also want to rethink your lifestyle based on the climate, so you can build your own exercise program. While people are digging out of a foot of snow around my suburban Chicago clinic right now, Houstonians typically enjoy far milder winters. With temps climbing to 70 by the weekend in Houston, there's no reason people can't get out of the house for a brisk walk.

USA Today January 6, 2005

Houston Chronicle January 5, 2005


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