January 08, 2006
We're Number Five!

I find the whole "America's Fattest City" thing to be silly and pointless, and yet I am compelled to blog about it.

Houston has been downsized from No. 1 to No. 5 on Men's Fitness magazine's annual list of the fattest U.S. cities.

Houston traded its dubious 2005 distinction with Chicago, which was No. 5 last year.

Men's Fitness placed Las Vegas an inch behind Chicago, followed by Los Angeles and Dallas.

"I'm proud of you guys," said editor Neal Boulton. "You're down to five ... It takes an enormous effort to go down that much from that height."


Houston has the most fast-food restaurants per capita, earning the title of Junk Food Capital.

"Houston has 70 percent more fast-food places than the average city in our survey," Boulton said.

Mayor Bill White said the fitness magazine's methodology is flawed.

"They count Subway as a fast-food establishment," he said, "even though, in a city like New York, the neighborhood deli wouldn't be counted as fast food. We ought to be on the fittest cities list, not the fattest."

White was named one of the three fittest mayors in America by the magazine's editors.

"His involvement is something we gave Houston points for," Boulton said. "Mayor Bill White initiated Get Moving Houston, aimed at getting Houston off the list of the fattest cities. Well, Houston, you're moving."

We spent much of the day Saturday organizing the garage, so I did my part for fitness. Maybe they'll move Houston down a few more notches next year in recognition of that. It would make as much sense as anything else about this tedious tradition.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 08, 2006 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack

I sorta-kinda understand what Mayor White says about Subway. But Subway is a hybrid: it's not EXACTLY fast food in the traditional fried sense, but it sure AIN'T a deli.

Posted by: Amerloc on January 8, 2006 6:30 PM

Subway is "fast food" in the business sense, but that doesn't mean its food is as, er, caloric as McDonald's!

Of course, you can eat poorly at Subway, and you can eat well at McDonalds. But that's no justification for equating the two.

Tangentially, this Science News article (subscribers only, but the rest of you can at least see the references) tells us that "when paired with a diet high in fat, breathing polluted air on a regular basis accelerates the accumulation of dangerous plaques in arteries." Perhaps Men's Fitness needs to begin scoring cities based on the dirtiness of their air, as well as their average waistlines. (Of course, that's unlikely to help Houston's score.)

Posted by: Mathwiz on January 9, 2006 2:26 PM