Bigger isn't always better, Arlington (aside from our shiny new stadium, that is).
Arlingtonites, the sheer number of fast-food restaurants in our city (yes, I am one of you) has helped Men's Health Magazine once again point their finger in our direction -- this time proclaiming the city home to some of America's biggest fast-food addicts.
Recent history shows Men's Health had nothing but praise to heap upon Arlingtonians. After all, it was just last month that Men's Health named Arlington the No. 1 most sports obsessed city in the U.S. (Yes, I thought that was a good thing.) In 2007, that same magazine recklessly sent women into Arlington in numbers heretofore unseen -- all searching for a man after the publication declared Arlington the fourth-best place in the country to meet single men.
In the words of Men's Health:
We started our search for America's fast-food addicts by tallying the number of McDonald's, Burger Kings, Wendy's, and Taco Bells per capita. Next, we factored in the percentage of people who visit fast-food restaurants (Experian Simmons) and those who consume fast food seven or more times a month (SimplyMap). Finally, we went to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the number of people who are obese, and to see who's eating the fewest fruits and vegetables.
Welcome to Arlington.
The latest from Men's Health might have you believe all of those single men are portly, with waistlines more resembling the oval-shape of the new Cowboys Stadium. (If true, this new tidbit may also account for the higher rate of single men than single women in the city, as evidenced in their earlier report. Heh.)
Whatever the case, after tallying the density of fast-food restaurants, those who eat at them and the obesity rate, the magazine now says Arlington is the city where fast food reigns like a taco supreme. You might think Arlington's complete lack of a public transportation system might encourage more walking and weight loss -- but that has not been the case.
How do we combat this and remove this scar from our fair city? You know what I'm going to say -- you've probably said it already. Of course, it's eating healthier and getting more exericise.
Arlington nutritionist Jennifer Pereira said she suggests eating slowly. This is so your stomach has time to tell your brain it's full and so your brain can then tell your greasy fingers to stop throwing back French fries. Additionally, Pereira said making meals in advance and freezing them can make eating healthier more convenient than trying to cook from scratch each and every evening.
So. On to the dreaded "e" word. Arlington isn't exactly known for it's park system, which leaves much of the city to improvise when it comes to an exercise regimine. (Sorry River Legacy, you're great ... but we need more of you around town.) So, to cure this ill we are resigned to either visit a gym or simply take a leisurely walk through our neighborhood. With the latter, we now know we should be grabbing our neighbors as we amble along, making trimming the fat a communal affair.
There are vegetables in our grocery stores Arlington -- I've been there and I've seen them. I challenge all of us to pick up a few on the next trip to the grocery, cook at home more AND to take a walk around the block twice a week. Together, let's see if we can shake this fat, "fast-food loving city" image off on some other city ... maybe all the way down to Houston.