Thursday, May 30, 2019

Arlington #1 Fittest Town In America While Fort Worth #88

If you are thinking that whom you are looking at here is Elsie Hotpepper, on the right, and her mom, enjoying the great outdoors at Fort Worth's downtown Water Gardens, well, you would be thinking incorrectly, since I am almost 100% that the Texans in this photo are not Elsie and her mom.

Then again, I have not seen either in over a year.

The size level of people occupying various American towns came to mind recently via an in depth study by the American College of Sports Medicine which used a wide range of various criteria to determine the fitness level of the population populating America's Top 100 towns.

Of course I assumed a Texas town would be at the top of the list, or the bottom. So, I was not too shocked to see Arlington was determined to be the fittest town in America. With Seattle coming in at #2.

Then I took a second look and saw that the Arlington at the #1 spot was the Arlington in Virginia, not the Texas version of Arlington.

The Texas version of Arlington does not have a large enough population to make the Top 100 list, but many other Texas towns were big enough.

Such as Austin, with the Texas capital being the fittest Texas town on the list, at the #42 spot, followed by #44 Plano, #60 Lubbock, #61 Dallas, #72 El Paso, #73 Houston, #76 Garland, #78 Irving, #80 Laredo, #82 San Antonio, #88 Fort Worth and #91 Corpus Christi.

What a shock that Fort Worth is near the bottom of this list. Unfortunately one of the criteria was the percent of a town's population having a city park within a 10 minute walk. Along with the number of parks per capita. Perhaps having too many outhouses also factored in. Along with the majority of Fort Worth's streets having no sidewalk on to which to walk to one of the town's few parks. 

Well, basically Fort Worth did not do well in any of the fitness criteria.

You can read the entire report to see how towns ranked in the Top Ten of various criteria categories, including Bike Score, Best Air Quality, Personal Health Rank & Score, Community/Environment Rank & Score, Exercise, Aerobic Activities, Strengthening Activities, Park/10,000 Residents, Parks Within 10-Minute Walk, Walk or Bike to Work, Use Public Transportation, Walk Score, 2 or More Fruits per Day, 3 or More Vegetables per Day, Farmers Markets.

What a shock. Fort Worth showed up in zero of those lists of the Top Ten in any of the categories.

I remember way back when I first moved to close proximity to Fort Worth it was difficult to adjust to seeing so many people so much bigger than the people I was used to seeing on the west coast.

Soon thereafter I remember reading that many Europeans referred to Americans as the Balloon People. Had I read this whilst still living in Washington I would have thought it rude, and not understood why those Europeans would think such a thing.

I remember flying up to Washington in February of 2004, picked up at Sea-Tac, brought to a gallery in Seattle's Pioneer Square, where I watched the throngs pass by and I memorably remarked that it looked as if everyone has had the air let out of them, so used to, by then, seeing so many plus-sized Texans.

Last October, for the first time since 2002, Big Ed left Texas, well, other than going to Oklahoma, which is Texas-lite. Big Ed rode with me to Arizona. I remember telling him he was going to be surprised at seeing so many deflated people, with so few looking like candidates for one of those "People of Walmart" photo collections, unlike what he was used to seeing in Texas.

Ironically, when people in Arizona saw Big Ed for the first time in years one after another remarked that Texas had made him skinny. Thus began a three week effort to fatten him up.

I would have thought the Arizona towns I have visited in recent years would show up higher on this List of American Cities. However, Chandler where one of my little sisters lives, along with my favorite brother-in-law, is the #68 fittest town. Mesa, where one of my other sisters winters in an RV concentration camp, is #66, fitter than Chandler. Phoenix at #71 and Gilbert at #83 are even less fit, almost as misfit as Fort Worth.

Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert have multiple parks, multiple public swimming pools, miles of paved trails, streets with sidewalks,and plenty of fresh fruit, often free for the picking.

So, I have no idea why those Arizona towns ranked nearly as poorly as Fort Worth, a town with few parks, zero (some claim three) public swimming pools, few streets with sidewalks, and the only fruit I know of free for the picking is maybe prickly pears.

Anyway, read the American College of Sport Medicine Fitness Summary for all its interesting insight...

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