Forbes.com recently released a list of the top ten most obese cities in America. Many of the cities on the list have high poverty rates and high frequencies of fast-food consumption. While fast-food consumption is a minor factor influencing obesity rates, purchasing patterns often reflect larger health issues and habits in certain communities.
Here is the list of the top ten:
Memphis, Tennessee: 34%
Researchers have found that residents are aware of the area's obesity problem. Among the causes they blame are high rates of poverty and a culture of Southern hospitality cuisine that values fried goodness in all shapes and sizes.
Birmingham, Alabama: 31.3%
The second most obese city of Birmingham residents have a BMI(Body Mass Index) of 30 or higher. There are numerous programmes and projects in and around the city to create awareness and fight the city's high childhood obesity rates.
San Antonio, Texas: 31.1%
Arguably the home base for calorie-rich Tex-Mex cuisine, this Texas city comes in a close third as the most obese.
Riverside/San Bernardino, California: 30.8%
Those living in the city of Riverside and the surrounding metropolitan area are likely victims of a car-centric culture. But despite efforts to promote safe streets and bicycle riding, the obesity epidemic is only getting worse.
Parts of this stressed city, where 33% of residents live below the poverty line, may qualify as a "food desert," a term used to describe urban areas devoid of healthy, fresh food choices. Still, it seems the state also suffers from unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity.
Jacksonville, Florida: 29.8%
Perhaps this city's humid climate drives its residents, indoors. In an effort to lessen the area's obesity rate, the city has launched a public health initiative called 'Healthy Jacksonville', which allows participants to get involved in a community-wide challenge for improved fitness and health.
Nashville, Tennessee: 28.8%
At 28.8%, the percentage of residents who are obese increased roughly two points last year, while the number of overweight residents rose to 39%, up from 35.5%. The city has tried combating the rising numbers with various health initiatives.
Oklahoma City: 27.5%
Mayor Mick Cornett has been working with city leaders to improve local health on a number of fronts due to the fact that a whopping 27.5% of Oklahoma City residents are obese.
Kansas City, Missouri: 26.9%
Well known for its barbeque, Kansas City has a big appetite. Like other cities on this list, where a culture of food is closely intertwined with a way of life, that may contribute to high levels of obesity. At least many are vocal about improving parks and recreation services, as well as making sidewalks more walkable.
San Diego, California: 26.7%
The glitz of downtown San Diego belies pockets of poor neighbourhoods where access to fresh fruit and vegetables is limited. To counteract the trend, San Diego County has invested in preventing and reversing childhood obesity by forging relationships between public and private entities.
To find out more about obesity go to Health24.com