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A Sedentary Survey

Filed Under: Announcements & News at 5:07 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
MemphisEarlier this year, we learned just how fat each individual state was. Mississippi led the way with nearly one-third of its population being classified as obese. However, the remaining 49 weren’t much better.  We hung our heads in shame, relieved when the buzz died down, hoping that our geographic location would no longer stimulate health-related shame. Well, for those of us in America’s metropolises, that hope didn’t last long; the shame is back.

Forbes recently ranked the country’s top 50 urban areas based on BMI, physical inactivity and TV-watching habits.  Once again, the leader was in the South. Memphis, with 65 percent of its residents overweight or obese, 30 percent not regularly exercising and everyone watching an average of 41 hours of television a week, beat out New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tampa, Birmingham and all the rest for the number one spot. But as with the state survey, we can’t take comfort in not being the worst, because all of the findings were equally distressing. Everyone’s fat, no one’s moving and the TV has taken over our lives. The reasons for the sedentary epidemic vary from city to city, but one of the major problems is the environment. There are limited amounts of parks, paths, safe neighborhoods, healthy affordable food and exercise facilities. Fortunately for us though, there is some hope.

Most of the examined cities had, beneath their rolls of fat, programs designed to combat the rising obesity. Philadelphia, for example, has the Philly Orchard Project.  Making use of the 40,000 vacant lots and 700 empty factories, the city is planting trees. Eventually, fruits will be readily available throughout the neighborhoods at prices that, hopefully, everyone can afford. What’s more, the simple act of caring for these orchards will bring children and adults away from their televisions. It will beautify a city and create an appealing, outdoor environment.

A few states down, Get Active Orlando is working to create a similar urban atmosphere.  The initiative is redesigning the city so that it is conducive to active rather inactive living. They are improving bike paths, educating their children, lessening traffic and creating maps of safe walking-routes. They are infusing Orlando with an opportunity for health.

It’s a safe bet that your city is doing something of the same kind. It shouldn’t be too hard to find. Do a quick google search and then get involved. Help turn your city from an overweight, inert embarrassment to a healthy, active place to be.

One Response to “A Sedentary Survey”

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