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For 3rd Year, They're Living Large in Texas

Once again, Houston leads list put together by Men's Fitness magazine of the country's 25 most overweight cities.

January 03, 2003|From Associated Press

HOUSTON — Houston, we still have a weight problem.

For the third year in a row, Men's Fitness magazine has named the city the nation's fattest, blaming the region's hot and humid climate, "abysmal" air quality, relative lack of outdoor recreation and residents' love of junk food.

The country's fourth-largest city topped a list of 25 cities, followed by Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

Last year, the city launched a Get Lean Houston! initiative to encourage residents to get fit and live healthier lives.

It also named Lee Labrada, a former Mr. Universe, as the city's first fitness czar.

Labrada said he's skeptical of surveys like the magazine's, and places more stock in studies like a recent one by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The CDC interviewed 185,000 Americans by telephone in 55 cities to determine the percentage of people who are overweight or obese.

"Houston was not even in the top 10," Labrada said.

Mayor Lee Brown, who last year admitted he had put on a few extra pounds, has lost 20 pounds since then, he said.

"We do not relish the title bestowed upon us by Men's Fitness magazine," Brown said in a statement.

"And [we] will continue to work to involve all Houstonians in our programs to improve the overall health and fitness of the city's residents."

On the other side of the spectrum, Honolulu was judged most fit, followed by Seattle, San Francisco, Colorado Springs, Colo., and San Diego.

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