Friday, January 07, 2005

Hey! Congratulations Houston!

For being named the fattest city in America by the subjective judgment of Men's Fitness Magazine. By subjective, I mean that they didn't actually weigh and measure body-fat percentages of all the people in the country.

Wait, let me verify that.

Ah! It's a meta-analysis, but that's a fine thing for a magazine to do. Or a newspaper or a blogger. My take on meta-analyses is that I don't give them more credence than I do to a preliminary study. They're good for telling you what needs more study.

Here are their categories:
Gyms/Sporting Goods
Junk Food
Air Quality
Parks/Open Space
Recreation Facilities
Health Care

Remember, they're looking for the "fittest" cities to live in - the cities most conducive to fitness. This isn't really about the moral character - the gluttony (even though they call the cities on the bottom of their ranking "the fattest") - of the individuals living in them. Is "air quality" really a factor in obesity? Poor access to health care makes you fat?

*Let me check the CDC's methodology, from which they take their actual obesity numbers. (Hmm... don't like that link, try this one. Ah, here we go.)

Surveys, surveys, surveys. How do they verify the accuracy of surveys? Does anyone ever? (Makes me think of a "push poll" I participated in during the Wellstone-Coleman Senate race.) Guess I'll have to read this. I wonder if the people who work there call it Barfus.

This seems like rather a weak claim in favor of Seattle as the fittest city, "Eighty-five percent of Seattle residents get some exercise every month, and that's a really significant thing," [Men's Fitness Editor in Chief Neal] Boulton said.

Every month? If I only exercised once a month, I wouldn't be braggin'. (My emphasis, btw.)