Being obese can cause all sorts of risks to ones health. Let alone what it does to ones appearance. As everyone in the world knows everything is bigger in Texas. Including the people.
In Texas obesity can be deadly in disturbing ways. Like this week in La Joya, Texas, that is in Hidalgo County, near the Mexican border in the fattest part of Texas, an obese babysitter fell on top of a 2 year old boy and crushed his skull, killing him. A local justice of the peace was quoted as saying "It didn't look like there was any foul play from what I saw."
Men's Fitness magazine does an annual list of the United State's Fattest and Fittest Cities. The list varies wildly from year to year which would seem to render it sort of silly. Like in 2005 Seattle was the Fittest City while Houston was the Fattest. In 2005 Arlington, Texas was the 22nd Fittest City, but somehow, within 3 years, Arlington became the 2nd Fattest City, with Fort Worth being the 4th Fattest. San Antonio, this year, is the 3rd Fattest, El Paso 5th Fattest, Houston has really improved from its #1 Fattest position in 2005 to being only the 10th Fattest in 2008. I guess that Fitness Campaign in Houston has really paid off.
So, Texas has 5 cities in the Top Ten on the Fattest list. That is quite an accomplishment. Now, living here, this does not surprise me. You see a lot of really really BIG people here. I remember in August of 2004 I flew up to Seattle, Seattle being the Fittest City at that point in time. I had not been up there for almost 3 years. So, Lulu picked me up at the airport. She had to deliver some stuff to a gallery in Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle. It was February. Unlike here, in Texas, there were a lot of people walking about downtown in Seattle. And what was so striking to me was, after my long exile in Obese Texas, it looked to me like the Seattlites had had the air let out of them. I was so used to seeing so many bloated up Texas Balloon People it'd warped my perceptions of what humans look like.
One thing I have noticed during the course of my exile in Texas is there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people I see exercising in the various parks I go to. Like when I first discovered River Legacy Park in Arlington I was very impressed with what a nice park it is and very surprised at how few people used it. That is no longer the case. You now see a lot of people biking, walking, roller blading and playing, with only, maybe 25% of them appearing to be obese.
So, it sort of surprises me that Arlington is now supposedly the #2 Fattest City in the U.S. That is quite a fall from being on the list of Fittest Cities in 2005. Now, it does not surprise me to see Fort Worth being listed as the 4th Fattest City. I can pedal for miles on Fort Worth's Trinity River trails and see nary a human except for a bum or two sleeping under a bridge.
I live in Fort Worth and I'm doing all I can do to try and get Fort Worth off the Fattest List and onto the Fittest. But I am only 1 of over 660,000 people. I can't do this all by myself. Some other people in Fort Worth are going to need to put down the doughnuts and get off the couch.