Baltimore: how it fits on fitness list

April 18, 2001|By Stephanie Shapiro

In Men's Fitness magazine's latest "Fattest Cities in America" list, the good news is that Baltimore is not among this sorry lot of 25 municipalities. The bad news is that the Greatest City in America manages a mediocre second-to-last on the magazine's corresponding list of the 25 "Fittest Cities."

Baltimore's "position on the `fit' list reflects a slightly-better-than-average overall score in our ranking," according to the magazine's Web site. A "less sedentary population than most" and "higher-than-average health levels" offset the city's less-healthy attributes. Unfortunately, "slightly-better-than average," translated into letter scores, doesn't look so good. Charm City gets a D for "healthy habits," a C for "fat factors," including obesity and junk-food availability, and a C-minus for "urban attributes," including commuting patterns, parks, recreation facilities and health care.

Under the "healthy habits" category, the survey, which appeared in the magazine's February issue, notes that Baltimore has fewer sporting-goods stores per capita than 47 of the cities included in the ranking. Baltimore's only great grade, an A-minus, was awarded for "air and water" quality.

Does our own mayoral fitness fanatic have plans to put his city on a health regimen?

Martin O'Malley is busy enough "trying to trim fat from the budget," says spokesman Tony White. There have been no discussions about "implementing a city-wide plan that would promote physical fitness through policy or city initiatives," White says.

Aerobics, dance and Weight Watchers classes and other offerings are open to city employees through a fitness program. The city offers fitness classes through the Department of Recreation and Parks, as well. And a Family, Fun & Fitness festival will take place Saturday, May 5 at Druid Hill Park.

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