Moral Low Ground


Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. Cities Score “F” on Exercise Survey, Only Seattle & San Francisco Rate “A+”

Lexington, Kentucky is the most sedentary city in the United States, according to an exercise survey published in Men’s Health magazine and reported by Reuters.

Out of 100 cities surveyed, 19– nearly one in five– scored an “F” in exercise ethic. Only four cities– Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland and Washington, DC– scored an “A,” with only Seattle and San Francisco scoring an “A+”.

The fat of the land… (Photo: Tony Alter)

Joining Lexington on the couch at the lazy end of the spectrum were Indianapolis and Jackson, Mississippi.

The Men’s Health rankings were based on frequency of exercise, the number of households that watch 15 hours of cable TV per week and bought more than 11 video games per year, and the prevalence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a clotting condition usually associated with inactivity.

“What hurt Lexington most was the actual amount of activity, or exercise, people reported engaging in – any physical activity at all, which was relatively low. And they did have higher rates of deaths from deep vein thrombosis as well,” Matt Marion, deputy editor of Men’s Health, told Reuters.

Southern and Midwestern cities dominated the ranks of the laziest cities in America, with the 23  most sedentary cities located in those regions, while only one Southern city– transplant-heavy Atlanta– made it onto the ten fittest list. Liberal, highly educated cities were usually the most fit, with Reno and Salt Lake City also scoring “A-” marks.

“With the most active cities a common theme that runs through is there is a bit more body consciousness, a more youthful and body conscious sensibility in these cities. And I think that equates to people making it a priority, no matter how busy, to get a run in or go for a walk,” Marion told Reuters.

Here are the 100 cities profiled according to the grade they received by Men’s Health:

A+: Seattle, San Francisco

A: Oakland, Washington, DC

A-: Salt Lake City, Reno, Portland (ME), Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, Bridgeport (CT), Miami, St. Paul, Austin

B+: Portland (OR), Manchester (NH), San Jose, Boston, Tucson, Madison (WI), San Diego

B: Wilmington (DE), Burlington (VT), Honolulu, Anchorage, Boise, Los Angeles, Aurora (CO)

B-: Colorado Springs, Baltimore, Chicago, St. Petersburg, New York, Norfolk, Phoenix

C+: Baton Rouge, Santa Ana, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Richmond (VA), Providence, Newark (NJ), Jersey City

C: Stockton (CA), Riverside (CA), Albuquerque, Pittsburgh (PA), Orlando, Raleigh, Ft. Worth, Durham

C-: Milwaukee, Kansas City (MO), Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Dallas, Detroit, Cleveland, Fresno

D+: Fargo, Cheyenne, Bakersfield, St. Louis, Plano (TX), Winston-Salem, San Antonio, Tampa, New Orleans, Columbia (SC), Houston, Buffalo

D: Lubbock, El Paso, Billings, Jacksonville (FL), Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Columbus

D-: Des Moines, Greensboro (NC), Louisville

F: Lincoln (NE), Toledo, Omaha, Ft. Wayne, Sioux Falls, Wichita, Memphis, Corpus Christi, Charlotte, Birmingham (AL), Laredo, Nashville, Little Rock, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Charleston (WV), Jackson (MS), Indianapolis, Lexington (KY)

While Moral Low Ground abhors “fat hate,” an epidemic nearly as insidious as the scourge of obesity itself, one cannot help but be alarmed by the public health implications of what can only be described as a national crisis. More than two-thirds of all Americans are overweight, with nearly one third of our country obese. The Centers for Disease Control and others estimate that obesity-attributable medical expenditures in the United States have soared to a staggering $75,000,000,000 per year. The Pentagon even considers our collective weight problem to be a threat to national security, as three out of every four American children is overweight or obese and 35% of American youth are unqualified for military service due to obesity-related issues.

It seems to me that hundreds of millions of  Americans need to figure out what residents of Seattle and San Francisco have known for many years: that the battle against obesity begins with putting down that remote control, getting up off that couch and going outside for a walk.

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