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Friday, June 17, 2011

Junk Food Flabby to Actively Savvy


Hi everybody! I am a brand spankin' new member of the Easy Languages team and even more of a rookie when it comes to blogging. But recently I came across an article that interested me about americans and obesity. Although I am aware this is a very common topic nowadays in relation to the U.S., I think this little link is a good way to start conversations and discussions about food, health, and culture, in any country. These little statistics, provided by Men's Health, place the top ten fattest cities in the US and the top ten thinnest cities for 2010. As a fellow american, I have actually had first-hand experience with 2 of the cities that are on these lists: living for 18 years of my life in Kansas City, Missouri which is number 6 on the top ten heftiest cities and living in Eugene, Oregon for 2 years while frequently visiting Portland, Oregon which is ranked number 7 on the top ten fittest cities. Upon returning to the US after studying for a year in Lyon, France and doing an internship in Belgium and England, I plan on finishing my studies before finally settling down and finding a job in Portland.

During my stay in France, discussions about the rising obesity problem in the US have obviously surfaced. One component that may definitely be a factor in the accumulation of extra pounds is the exhausted use of cars in the states. The different structure of our cities in the US have also made it difficult, especially with the lack of useful and efficient public transportation. In France for instance, I find it much easier to walk to work, to the grocery store, and to home because of the lay-out of the cities and the popularity of living closer to the center (downtown) of the city. In the US it is much more common to live in the suburbs and outskirts of a huge city and it is rare to find families that actually live close to the "centre-ville". However, some cities have found a way around this structural problem. Portland, Oregon is consistently number one on multiple lists for one of the most bike-friendly cities in the US: Top Bicycling Cities in the U.S. Perhaps perditably, almost all of the top ten fittest cities make these lists for the top bike-friendly cities as well. So americans, instead of dragging out your tired and mega-sized SUVs next time you go somewhere, maybe consider filling up the tires on your old 1970's road bike! There are also many other factors that contribute towards our inflating society such as: our excess consumption in general, the ever-improving technology supporting our laziness, and the pressures of the recession giving us excuses not to exercise.

Can you think of any other causes for the growing obesity in the US? Or can you note any other differences between other cultures and countries, and why exactly the US keeps plumping up in comparison?

Leave us a response in the comments section below!

Source: Fittest and Fattest Cities According to Men's Health and Get Outdoors
Photo: Flickr user Tony the Misfit Photo