Colorado Springs, Co — Men's Fitness magazine released its annual list of the fittest and fattest cities in the United States last month. Colorado Springs, CO, is the fittest while Las Vegas is the fattest.
Joining Colorado Springs among the fittest cities in America are Minneapolis; Albuquerque, NM; Denver; and Portland, OR.
Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera says having the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as well as several military bases in the area — including the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs — helps give the city its fit image.
“It's just perfect to be called fittest city, and we're going to work hard to keep that,” Rivera tells USA Today.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman was none too pleased that his city was ranked the fattest in America. He calls the magazine's study “irresponsible journalism.”
“I don't understand how they do this besides being cute,” Goodman tells USA Today.
After Las Vegas, the next four fattest cities, according to the study, are all in Texas: Arlington, San Antonio, Fort Worth and El Paso.
Men's Fitness bases its rankings on 17 categories that include sports participation, the number of fitness centers and fast food restaurants per capita, and access to parks and open spaces, recreational facilities and health care. The 17 categories fall into five categories: healthy habits, risk factors, natural environment, urban environment, and attitudes and action.
“Those are the categories, and then we weigh them according to how we feel they impact the citizenry,” says Roy Johnson, editor-in-chief of Men's Fitness. “Sports participation, obviously the amount of stuff people do where they get off their duffs and go outside, and the amount of parks and open space, we value that very highly.”
Oklahoma City was ranked No. 8 on the fattest cities list but is making strides to improve its ranking. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett launched a Web site, www.thiscityisgoingonadiet.com, that allows residents to track their weight loss and includes healthy recipes and a list of fitness centers in the city. Since Jan. 1, nearly 15,000 people on the Web site have lost more than 26,000 pounds.
“I really feel like this initiative is the beginning of a cultural change in this community toward valuing its health,” Cornett says.