"fattest" cities? as if.
January 5, 2004 12:26 PM

I figured a listing of "fit or fat" cities published by a "fitness" (read: weightloss) magazine like Men's Health would be based on some wildly false assumptions. You know, like "fat is the opposite of fit".

What I didn't figure is that the list would be based on such odd criteria. I guess I just assumed that there would be some measure of actual fatness and/or fitness taken. But no!

I haven't been able to find the full list of criteria used to assess each city online, but Paul pointed out some key flaws. It seems like a lot of inferences are made about how "fit" or "fat" a city's people are based on factors that only have the possibility to influence them one way or the other - air quality, climate, number of fast food restaurants, parks or gyms, commute time.

I don't doubt that easy access to the tools of a healthy lifestyle could encourage people to be healthier, but any rational person should question a study that relies on vaguely related factors to measure its object.

The sad thing is that this study could be useful - it could encourage cities to provide more resources like parks, playgrounds, free and cheap access to fitness and nutritional resources. Instead, by promoting fat as the opposite of fit (instead of, say, unfuckingfit as the opposite of fit) you get things like the mayor of Houston hiring a former body builder and shiller of nutritionally suspect supplements to promote a city-wide diet campaign. At least that's what we hear about - maybe Houston did actually improve the resources available - but that won't sell diet magazines and fuel the anti-obesity fears of Americans.

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your wicked thoughts

That list was big news in Chicago since we 'improved' from last year. I never bothered to look at how we got the distinction. Thanks!

these are the thoughts of Roni on January 5, 2004 12:46 PM

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