Not all the bodies in Miami are toned and tanned.
Men’s Fitness magazine released its annual research on the heaviest cities in the U.S., and the sunny South Florida town is living largest. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Salt Lake City is the most fit city.
The analysis was extensive. The editors of Men’s Fitness worked with a research firm to examine the nation’s 50 largest cities. They graded them in over a dozen categories, including the percentage of overweight people, the number of fitness center sports stores, a high rate of TV viewing among residents, long commutes, and poor air quality.
As someone who lived in South Florida for 20 years, I can vouch for the long commutes part. The urban design is such that everything is miles apart, and public transportation isn’t very good. Miami dietitian Claudia Gonzalez says the city doesn’t invite people to walk and exercise because of all the highways.
Gonzalez works with immigrants (a large portion of the Miami population) and finds that many of them choose inexpensive, high-calorie foods at fast-food restaurants. At home, they cook the wrong foods.
“They think about budgets and prices and tend to buy what is on sale. They aren’t aware of the good choices they could be making when eating out and at home,” says Gonzalez.
Miami has almost three times as many fast-food restaurants as the average city. And people don’t participate in outdoor activities such as biking, running and fitness walking. You’d think with the great weather, the opposite would be true. While the opportunities aren’t quite as good in Miami as compared to Salt Lake City – there is 11 times more public park acreage in the Utah city – there’s too much good weather to use that as a crutch.