The Fittest and Fattest Cities in America

Staff - - 03/07/2012
Weight Loss Theories

Are people giving up on staying fit? It’s been three years since we last rounded up America’s fittest and fattest cities, and obesity rates have worsened in that time span at an alarming rate. We’re not sure whether there’s a correlation with our current economic woes, but 33.8% of American adults are now obese.

In fact, the last time we tried this, fewer than six states had an obesity rate above 30%. That number is now up to 12. We think there’s hope, though. The fitness industry is booming, at least when it comes to innovation, and enrollment in user-friendly programs like CrossFit and P90X have increased exponentially so far this decade. There’s still work to be done, however.

Fattest City: Houston

We’ll spare you the predictable Texas-size jokes, but one thing Houston seems to maintain— and expand yearly—is the circumference of its collective paunch. Fine, we threw one in anyway, but it couldn’t be helped, because, according to the CDC, a whopping 34% of H-Town residents are overweight. In previous surveys we’d claimed Houston was on the upswing in the weight-loss department, but there’s evidently been a bit of a regression since we last checked in.

It could be the heat. Houston typically suffers through a hundred or more days each year with temperatures in excess of 90Åã, combined with relative humidity that rivals Manila’s. The city’s average commute—27.5 minutes, primarily by car since Houston lacks a comprehensive mass-transit system—also plays a major role in keeping Houstonians seated and sedentary.

“It’s just not a place that’s conducive to getting out and doing stuff,” says longtime resident Kent Martin, a competitive runner and MMA coach, “and that’s because of the humidity. It’s brutal here in the summer.”

Unhealthy Facts

City with the Most Fast-Food Joints: Houston (1,034)

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and drive-thrus may be to blame. (City with fewest: Boston)

Biggest Buttheads: 24.3% of Tulsans in Oklahoma are smokers (but only 8% of San Jose residents light up.

Pains, Trains, & Automobiles: Big-city commuters spend the most time getting to and from work.

City that has the Shortest Commute Time: Wichita 17.9 minutes Tulsa (18.3) Omaha (18.6).

And the longest: New York 39.1 minutes, Chicago (33.8) Philadelphia (31.8)

The most sex: Los Angeles (9) 135 times a year, according to Trojan.

Bottoms Up: The heaviest drinkers live in San Antonio 8.2% have at least two drinks per day.

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