March 12-18 is Milwaukee in Las Vegas Week on OnMilwaukee.com. Last month, Funjet Vacations sent our editorial team to Vegas, where we sought out connections between Brew City and Sin City. These are our stories...
Welcome to the third edition of the new and improved Sunday Sound-off, which now features a question, two different perspectives -- then opens up the topic to our readers' responses. Please use the Talkback feature below to contribute your thoughts on the issue.
This week's question: Is Milwaukee a healthier city than Las Vegas?
Let's face it: both cities are known for excess. The "Welcome" signs on the outskirts of town practically encourage the consumption of mass quantities. Moderation is viewed as a bit of a character shortcoming.
With that said: Is Milwaukee a healthier city than Las Vegas?
Yes. In the March issue of Mens Fitness magazine, the editors rank the fittest and fattest cities in the US. Surprisingly, Milwaukee comes in at No.16 on the list of fittest cities, down from No. 5 last year.
"Milwaukee residents are 20 percent more likely than average to play sports, and they have plenty of places to do it," the magazine says. "Relative to population, there are more public swimming pools here than almost anywhere else in America. Throw in above-average numbers of b-ball and tennis courts, plus more golf courses per capita than anywhere else, and you've got a sports lover's mecca."
The magazine rates Las Vegas as the "fattest city in America."
Said the magazine: "Of course, Vegas is the Fattest City -- It's all those casinos, buffets and free drinks, right? Wrong. The real reason Vegas is the Fattest City is because seven out every 10 adults there are so sedentary, doctors say they're putting their health at risk. It's an appalling lack of city parks, compared with other cities of similar size. It's TV watching -- Nielsen data reveals that Vegas residents spend more time in front of the tube than folks in any city in our survey (except Memphis). It's more fast-food places per capita than any city in our survey (except Cleveland).
"It's also the climate. While there's plenty of sunshine, the heat index can be stifling, keeping residents cowering in air-conditioning more often than not. And, it's suburban sprawl, especially outside the Strip. Lack of public transportation has bred a car-reliant culture that not only keeps the sidewalks and walkways barren but also creates some of the most polluted air in the country. And while Vegas does boast four times the national average number of health-food stores per capita and plenty of sporting-goods stores and gyms, you gotta think it's tourists who are hitting these health spots -- not the locals. While there's always going to be some sinning in this city, there's still a lot Vegas could do to clean up its act for those who are forced to live there day in and day out."
No. You're kidding, right?
Look at all the attractive cocktail waitresses, bartenders, hotel desk clerks and other people working in the service industry in Las Vegas. Now, take a walk through the Cream Puff Parlor at the Wisconsin State Fair. Milwaukeeans mainline bratwurst, smoked meats and beer in a climate that is cold nearly six months of the year. Residents in Vegas may not be as healthy as their counterparts in Phoenix or Southern California, but they melt away more pounds walking to their cars than Milwaukeeans do running to the refrigerator during commercial breaks in Packers games.