Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Next Up, Salt Lake City, the Place to be for Today's Wealthy Young Black Men!

Thankfully, I have a fairly low cholesterol count (thanks to growing up in a house where there was never enough food, combined with the fact that I had no friends and thus, no friends' pantries to raid, and now I have a wife who cooks dinner every night with recipes from Cooking Light, which are surprisingly tasty) or else I would have had a heart attack on the spot at reading that Baltimore is apparently the fittest city in America. Baltimore, the city that views itself as a poor man's Philadelphia.

The reasoning in the article, well, it seems a little fishy to me. Baltimore apparently lacks sufficient ice cream stores to be a portly city, which is news to me, since every time I eat with the in-laws in Little Italy (and no city with a thriving Little Italy can be that fit, since the point of Little Italies is to gorge yourself on Veal Parmigiana and then bitch about Roberto Baggio skying his penalty kick to conclude the '94 World Cup Final,) my step-father in law has to fight the raving masses at Vaccaro's to get his Chocolate/Vanilla Napoleon. Baltimore is famous for its crab cakes, which are apparently loaded down with mayo (as a Jew, I'm going to have to pass on having intimate knowledge of the recipe,) and yet it's the fittest city in the country? The only fit people in the city, in my experience, are the U. of Maryland undergrads because they need to look good to fit into their ribbed black sweaters before dousing themselves in Drakkar Noir in advance of a big night out at Bill Bateman's. (Wahoowa, bitches!) Every time I go to Baltimore for any extended period of time, I go on a diet when I get back. This can't be a reflection of a city of tofu eaters. (PS - I love Baltimore.)

And incidentally, how is LA on the list of least fit cities? I guess the cocaine that Los Angelinos swear by is probably an unhealthy way to stay thin?


Fox said...

I think the big thing Baltimore has going for it is that it's a blue collar town so people get far more exercise than I do sitting at my desk all day (and yes, I know this ignores the plumber's crack stereotype) and I think people there are sportier than in a lot of other places (it is the land of Under Armour after all). Also, setting aside the mayonaise issue, they do eat a lot of fish, which is far less fatty than the meat and potato diet of many other cities. Of course, I'd rather be fat elsewhere than have to live in Baltimore.

Michael said...

I think there is a reverse correlation between income and obesity, although I'm not sure. It might be because it costs money to shop at Whole Foods and eat lots of veggies as opposed to White Castle every day. It could also be because upper income people tend to be more neurotic white collar types who go to the gym because of their fears (and then end up dying of strokes because they worried all their lives.)

Chg said...

I didn't look closely at the old criteria, but the new ones seem terribly subjective. You get bonus points for having anti-obesity initiatives, funding greenspace, and having a skinny mayor.

I would certainly contend that a local government that considers obesity a big enough issue (unintentional puns are cool) to address with policy measures is a sign that you aren't living in a community terribly concerned with counting calories.

Given the quantifiable and documented differences in obesity rates among ethinic groups, it seems ethnic demographics would be a more logical measure to include in the rating system, though not a terribly PC one.

Michael said...

Good point on the anti-obesity initiatives. Philly had one a few years ago called "76 Tons of Fun" when the city was named the plumpest in the U.S. You're unfortunately also correct about ethnic factors, as there is a correlation between certain groups and higher incidences in obesity, but that's a subject I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. It's one thing to point out that athletes of West African descent are more likely to have top-end speed, but when we go from compliments to criticism, the debate gets very uncomfortable.