In fact, you had to go down to No. 15 on the list (Philadelphia) before you could find a city that the League of American Bicyclists says encourages bicycling.
Among the Top 10 Leanest Cities, however, 8 are considered bicycle friendly, and half of those have a high rating of silver, gold or platinum.
Bike friendly = lean?
You probably can't make the argument that these cities are fat because they're not bicycle friendly. But you might be able to draw the conclusion that bicycle friendly communities got that way because residents and city officials put a high priority on being fit and active.
Men's Health magazine created the rankings by calculating the percentage of people who are overweight, the percentage with Type 2 diabetes, and the percentage who haven't left the couch in a month (all from the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System); money spent of junk food (Bureau of Labor Statistics); and the number of people who ate fast food nine or more times in a month (Mediamark Research).
[I don't know about you, but I really got hung up on the percentage of people who haven't left the couch in a month. That's an actual statistic?]
Here's the 10 Leanest cities in the survey and their Bicycle Friendly rank:
1. San Francisco — Gold
2. Burlington VT — Bronze
3. Washington DC — Bronze
4. Seattle — Gold
5. Austin — Silver
6. Albuquerque — Bronze
7. Portland — Platinum
8. Cincinnati — Not listed
9. Denver — Bronze
10. Aurora, CO — Not listed
Here are the Top 10 fattest cities:
1. Corpus Christi
2. Charleston, West Virginia
3. El Paso
6. Kansas City, MO
7. San Antonio
Obesity is a serious health problem in the US. In addition to making it difficult to ride your bicycle uphill, it also contributes to heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, gout, some types of cancers, gall bladder disease, sleep apnea and depression.
Over in the bottom left column at BikingBis, I've installed calorie counter for bicycling. Check it out if you need motivation for running your errands by bicycle.
For instance, based on my weight, speed and number of minutes I spent on my bicycle to return a video yesterday, I burned more than 300 calories. That more than makes up for the beer I quaffed after dinner.
Eating healthy and exercising to burn off extra calories is a sure way to get fit. Maybe the top 10 fattest cities can encourage their residents to exercise more by making their cities more bicycle safe and friendly.