My hometown, Arlington, Virginia, made it’s way for the first time on to the Men’s Fitness “fattest city” list at number EIGHT! This is, frankly, astonishing. As I look around me, I see far fewer fat people than I see at work in suburban Maryland. There are about 15 neighbors here who I see nearly everyday, and of those, only two could possibly be considered overweight. I think there are plenty of problems with the survey, not the least of which is that Arlington is not a city — it’s a county. Were it counted as such, perhaps it would be pretty far down the list of counties.
This makes very little sense to me. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Washington suburb with a higher concentration of gym-going, on-the-go, jogging, working-out young adults than Arlington. How in the world did they name Arlington fatter than such places as Cleveland (9), Memphis (20), New York (21) or El Paso (24)? I’ve been to El Paso. I have relatives in El Paso. And Arlington is no El Paso when it comes to overweight people.
How did they come up with this statistic?
To determine the top 25 fattest cities, the magazine looked at the 50 largest cities in 14 categories, such as air quality, climate, commute time, total number of fast-food and pizza restaurants, and number of health clubs and sporting goods stores.
The mere presence of fast food, long commutes, and few sporting goods stores hardly makes people fat. Because Arlington is the smallest urban county in the country, there’s not a high number of any stores. Did it occur to the writers of this list that the folks in Arlington mostly work in other jurisdictions, and go to the gym there? For instance: there are two gyms close by my house. One is a county rec center, the other is actually located in Fairfax county about 1 mile away, so it wouldn’t be counted in this survey.
This list has absolutely NO bearing on reality. At all.
Disclaimer: I typed this on a laptop while sitting on my living room couch, watching “Fawlty Towers” on TiVo, munching on Tostito’s Torilla Chips, in my house in Arlington, Virginia on a 60° day when I should be outside doing something healthful.