In yesterday’s article, I continued with this series on obesity by discussing obesity in the U.S. I showed maps of the U.S. that charted out obesity rates across the country from 1985-2008, and the results were startling.
Now let’s examine it even more closely by looking at the most obese cities in the U.S. This statistic is put together by Men’s Health magazine, which has been doing the survey for the last 11 years.
Men’s Health magazine does their analysis by working with a research firm to examine the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas and grade them in more than a dozen categories, including the percentage of overweight citizens and the number of fitness centers and sports stores.
That may be hard to believe, since when you think of Miami, you think of hard bodies working on their tan in South Beach.
Yet Miami earned its dubious distinction because of its large number of overweight people, a high rate of TV viewing among residents, long commutes and poor air quality. The city has almost three times as many fast-food restaurants as the average city. And participation is low in outdoor activities such as biking, running and fitness walking.
Claudia Gonzalez, a registered dietitian in Miami, says the city doesn’t invite people to walk and exercise because of all the highways. “If you walk in some areas, people look at you like you are strange – like, ‘Why are you walking when everyone else is driving?’ ”
So what’s up with Miami? Here’s a number of reasons why they are numero uno:
**Florida state law limits or prohibits obesity-related lawsuits against food manufacturers and restaurants.
**The local commute is much more oppressive than in most cities – 50 percent more oppressive than average, leaving less time to exercise and prepare healthy meals. Commuter stress may also raise levels of cortisol, a hormone linked to weight gain and other health problems.
**According to Nielsen Media Research, TV viewers in the Miami television market spend 20 percent more time in front of the tube than average among cities.
**Air quality here is among the most unhealthful of any city, according to EPA air quality standards. Unhealthy air makes outdoor exercise hazardous.
**Miami’s park acreage per capita is 80 percent lower than average. Research has found a connection between access to parks and green space and reduced obesity rates.
**Fast food, widely implicated as a contributor to obesity, is more common in Miami than most places. In a per capita comparison there are 31 percent more fast-food joints here than average.
**Miami residents participate in sports much less than average – 20 percent less than average.
**Although other states participate in a CDC-sponsored program to reduce obesity and other chronic diseases, Florida doesn’t.
**Miami has 74 percent more pizza places per capita than the average among cities.
**Despite wide availability of local running and biking trails, Miami residents are 35 percent less likely than average to jog or cycle.
**Ice cream shops are 141 percent more popular in Miami than average.
**Just 7 percent of Miami residents play golf. That’s 32 percent less than average.
**Miami residents are 67 percent less likely than average to go hiking.
**Only about 2 percent of Miami residents do Pilates.
**Residents of Miami are 84 percent less likely than average to use aerobic rider machines.
**Skateboarding is 63 percent less popular here than average.
Here, according to Men’s Health, are the 24 other cities that round out the top 25 most obese cities in the U.S.
2. Oklahoma City, OK
3. San Antonio, TX
4. Las Vegas, NV
5. New York, NY
6. Houston, TX
7. El Paso, TX
8. Jacksonville, FL
9. Charlotte, NC
10. Louisville-Jefferson, KY
11. Memphis, TN
12. Detroit, MI
13. Chicago, IL
14. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
15. San Jose, CA
16. Tulsa, OK
17. Baltimore, MD
18. Columbus, OH
19. Raleigh, NC
20. Philadelphia, PA
21. L.A.-Long Beach, CA
22. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
23. Indianapolis, IN
24. San Diego, CA
25. Kansas City, MO