Readers Blog: Between the Bars

Milwaukee Ranked 11th Fittest City

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Yes, you read that right. I said fittest city, not fattest.

It’s true. Men’s Fitness just hailed Milwaukee as the "11th Fittest City" in the United States. Salt Lake City took honors as the fittest city whereas Miami got the fattest rear, I mean, rear of the fattest category.

Now, I know for some of us it's a little hard to comprehend the idea of “fittest city” and “Milwaukee” being used in the same sentence. Given the common, yet hackneyed images that depict our city, Milwaukee has always had a reputation for, er, girth. I mean, beer guzzling and brat binging certainly doesn’t sound very fit or healthy, right?

But, let’s be honest here, there’s a lot more to Milwaukee and to the people that live here. And in February's issue of Men's Fitness, Milwaukee's sizable reputation takes a hefty beating.

In fact, Milwaukee got high marks for its lower obesity rates, which is likely due to many athletically motivated residents, low TV viewing, high sports participation and an abundance of metropolitan recreational facilities.

According to an article in the USA Today, Men’s Fitness has been doing this annual analysis for 11 years now. The editors work with a research firm to examine the nation's 50 largest cities/metropolitan areas and grade them (A-F just like in school) in more than a dozen categories, including the percentage of overweight citizens, the number of fitness centers and sports stores, and nutrition and junk food consumption.

Milwaukee grabbed an A- in sports participation, which seems pretty accurate when considering the number of runners, walkers and bikers that pack the lakefront and the local trails in nicer weather.

Of course, with a D- in nutrition, there's obviously still a predominance of beer and fried foods in our diets. But perhaps we’re beginning to learn to balance the intake of sudsy and greasy goodness with a run along Lake Michigan or a bike ride through the Oak Leaf Trail.

Somewhat surprisingly, Milwaukee ranked higher than Austin, San Francisco and Tucson, but kicked the, in this case, very large heinie of our neighbor to the south – Chicago scored number 13 in fattest cities.

Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Las Vegas and New York also scored some hefty marks by being named some of the nation's fattest cites. This is primarily due to a large number of overweight people, a high rate of TV viewing among residents, long commutes, poor air quality and low participation in outdoor activities such as biking, running and fitness walking.

Check out Men’s Fitness for the entire list of fattest and fittest cities in the country and see how your city stacks up. The results appear in the February issue. Do you agree with the rankings?

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