Last year a report came out by MSNBC listing the Most Obese Cities in America and one of my favorite cities came in last. Boulder, Colorado, with its earthy-crunchy population and active residents, this city deserves recognition for having a population with the highest percentage of fit and lean residents. High in the mountains of Colorado, this city also boasts 300 days of sunshine per year — more than Miami, Florida. And according to HappyCow.net, Boulder has 23 vegan restaurants listed. It’s not a coincidence as to why the people of Boulder are so healthy.
What’s the fattest metropolitan area in America? McAllen-Edinburg-Mission in southern Texas, with a frightening obesity rate of 38.8 percent and annual obesity-related costs of $410.9 million. Over $400 million a year are spent in this one city trying to keep fat people alive. That’s more than the budget for James Cameron’s “Titanic,” and we all know how that ended. According to HappyCow.net there are no vegan restaurants in the greater McAllen, TX, region (but there are 36 BBQ joints).
What was most exciting about the report is the fact that the number two city on the list is Binghamton, N.Y. With an obesity rate of 37.6 percent, the Southern Tier city sees related healthcare costs of $131.5 million, according to MSNBC.
Why is this so exciting? Well, Binghamton is my hometown. That’s right. The city that raised me is now on the map, actually visible from outer space, because of its overweight residents. Was I aware of this growing up? Nope. I had no idea and I actually think that when this report came out, it took the city by surprise. Maybe because everyone was too busy stuffing their faces with spiedies?
What makes this most disappointing is that Binghamton actually has the capacity to change. Take this moment to introduce citywide health initiatives. Pull a Bloomberg and ban ridiculously-sized soft drinks. Encourage city residents to form weight loss teams and track their health with a competitive spirit. Educate the people of Binghamton about the advantages of a vegan diet. Turn that MSNBC report around and prove to the nation that Binghamton cares.
Did they do this? Fat chance. Binghamton will likely stay on that list forever. A sad and obese city. Not surprisingly, Binghamton is also one the nation’s most overcast cities and also lists zero vegan restaurants on HappyCow.net.
None of this is a coincidence.