Birmingham Makes Top Ten List of America’s Most Sedentary Cities

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BhamBarons_rockingchairs1

A Birmingham couple gorging on hotdogs and beer, sitting in the rocking chairs in center field at a Barons game

By Glynn Wilson

Summer may be the season for kicking back and doing nothing, according to Men’s Health magazine. But in some cities, including my home town of Birmingham, Alabama, people don’t have to lift a finger to be named to the list of America’s Most Sedentary Cities.

Birmingham made the Top 10 on the list of cities with the most couch potatoes, coming in at 91 out of 100.

The data behind the list includes how often people worked out and where, how much television they watched and how many video games people bought. It also included the rate of deaths from deep-vein thrombosis, a condition linked to a lot of sitting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The poor people of Lexington, Kentucky topped the list, followed closely by those in Indianapolis, Indiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Charleston, West Virginia; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Laredo, Texas; then Birmingham, Alabama.

Notice that seven out of the Ten Top sedentary cities are in the American South, where there is no mass transit to speak of, although New Orleans, where there are street cars, did make the list at number 68.

Atlanta, on the other hand, which does have a metro system, made the Top Ten list where the people are Most Active, coming in at number 8.

Is that an interesting coincidence or is there something more to it?

The Top Ten Most Active cities were Seattle, Washington (yes they have mass transit), followed by San Francisco and Oakland, California (yes); Washington, D.C. (yes); Salt Lake City, Utah; Reno, Nevada; Portland, Main; Atlanta, Georgia (yes); Denver, Colorado; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I have found that in cities where there is mass transit, people tend to walk more, drink more water, and get into the city more for events. And I suspect this has something to do with not only the health of the people, but the economy of the city’s as well. If you checked the job market and the economic numbers I suspect you would find a correlation between mass transit, people’s health and the health of the economy.

In places where there is no mass transit, most people live in the suburbs, rarely come into the inner city and spend much of their free time watching television. That’s all there is to do in the suburbs, and you have to drive every where you go, including to the grocery store.

In cities like Washington, D.C., Seattle and New Orleans, there are neighborhood stores where you can at least walk to the store to buy your beer when you feel like being lazy and watching TV. That is quite impossible in places like the suburbs of Birmingham, where you are at risk of being arrested for DUI if you go out to eat and drink. That’s why most people don’t bother. After dark, most people lock themselves in their suburban abodes and, well, watch TeeVee.

Go here to see the full list of America’s 100 Most Sedentary Cities

© 2013, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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