Great, Now Dallas Is One Of The Least Fit Cities In The Nation

Categories: Lists

Thumbnail image for bikersonviaduct.JPG
These people are clearly freaks of nature.
In addition to being smutty and un-hip, the DFW area is now ranking way down at number 47 on the American College of Sports Medicine's Fitness Index. And the bad news is that unlike some of the other lists we've been bitching about lately (looking at you, perv index) this one is backed up with actual science, using data from places like the Centers For Disease Control and the Trust For Public Land. It makes a number of good points, albeit ones you probably already know well: Many Dallasites can't walk or bike to work, and a lot of us don't have access to farmers markets, public parks or rec centers.

The good news: tennis courts. We're good on those.

This news hit us like a slow-moving, easily-winded tidal wave just as Robert Wilonsky shares the news that Bicycling magazine has decided, yet again, that we are the worst.

The ACSM study (which ranked Minneapolis at number one and Austin at 10, yawn) is made up of "personal health indicators" and "community health indicators." It found a number of chronic health issues were higher than they'd like in the Dallas area, including obesity (probably from all that commuting), asthma and especially heart disease. Around 200 people per 100,000 have been diagnosed with that here, compared with a target goal of 167.1. Many Dallasites also don't appear to be getting their five-a-day of fruits and veggies, and there are only 66 primary care doctors per 100,000 people here, compared with a goal of 100.

The study also says our number of baseball diamonds, playgrounds, dog parks, golf courses (because golf is, of course, excellent exercise), rec centers and swimming pools are all below the target goal for a healthy city. The numbers of people who walk, bike, or take public transportation to work are also low, to absolutely no one's surprise.

But there is a bit of good news as far as the ACSM is concerned, and it's not just our above-average number of tennis courts. We also have enough parkland, they say, making up around 13 percent of the area's total land mass, and we're spending an above-average amount on maintaining and developing it (although for some reason the study still found the number of "park units" was below the goal number).

So what exactly are we supposed to do with this entirely expected and yet still totally frustrating information? Bike lanes increasingly look like a wild pipe dream, and those adorable mini parks sadly never took off as a permanent idea.

One suggestion: Let's shut down that new bridge of ours to traffic and install a putt-putt course, a rock-climbing wall, a line of elliptical trainers overlooking the freeway, and a giant-ass swimming pool where everybody can bob for celery.

What? It's exactly as likely as those bike lanes getting built.

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33 comments
joeinbost
joeinbost

Lived there  after boston I felt HUGE  in Boston  but in Dallas I was tiny even against the women. ALL YOU CAN EAT Buffets are an advertisement not a Challenge

Mike
Mike

How does use of public transportation equate to being more fit? Most of the obese people I have seen in Dallas have been while making my daily or more frequent bus/rail trips. 90 per cent of thin people I see there have a readily recognizable physical ailment.

I am sure car occupants are equally obese. Transit users are just not less obese.

mmarks
mmarks

Holy crap. I have no idea what you're talking about.

Oliver Klozoff
Oliver Klozoff

It's really not a shock that Dallas always ranks low in the quality of life surveys - Fattest Cities, Worst Bicycle City, Parks and Recreation, etc.  Why?  Because we always rank high in corporate glitz, scammers and spammers, 30k a year millionaires, city government/police corruption and crime.  In other words, we're number one with a bullet when it comes to being a crappy city!  As a result, this city terribly lacks any soul despite the large African-American community.

Waddup79
Waddup79

Your description is right on!  Dallas is adequate but the overall quality of life is poor compared to other cities.  Seems to me that anyone who defends Dallas vehemently has either never been out of Dallas, or typical Sheeple who don’t care about anything as long as they are able to compensate what really matters with material items.Dallas has no personality or flair and like its people beauty is only skin deep.  You can’t buy “class” and Dallas will never be World Class until it figures this out.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Dallas has lots of soul, it just ain't proud of it's soulful side.  

Reality Invasion
Reality Invasion

"large African-American community"

Are you really so naive that you fail to understand that Dallas' fat ranking is influenced, in large part, by large numbers of large African-Americans in Dallas' large African-American community?

Then consider all the large Latinos in Dallas' large Latino community.

Oliver Klozoff
Oliver Klozoff

 Is that really a question?  Ummmm, no, I'm not that naive, but there are plenty of overweight white people in this city from what I can tell, so I don't think you can put it all on the Blacks and Latinos..  Besides, my comment had nothing to do with overweight people; rather, it had everything to do with how little personality and soul this city has.  Let me put it to you this way:  Some places have a real vibe, and others try to manufacture a vibe.  Guess which category I feel Dallas falls under? 

Paul
Paul

" Many Dallasites can't walk or bike to work, and a lot of us don't have access to farmers markets, public parks or rec centers."

But we have a string thingy bridge that a few folks walked across on opening day ceremonies.  Doesn't that count for something?  And this bridge also lacks pedestrian walkways ...

Metroplexual
Metroplexual

Yawwwwwnnn.Unfair Park is becomming more fluff, fluff, fuff, fluff, fluff than D Magazine's Front Burner. Stories like this are so full of crap I can't believe anyone who's read more than2 or 3 of them even bothers to click.My comment is not really about this article but to encourage Unfair Park to get with it.You have been slipping, 

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

We have plenty of room in the 'burbs for all that except baseball. Try finding an open baseball field this time of year is just about impossible.

Antonio Bonner
Antonio Bonner

I definitely think if there were more outlets for excursive, people would enjoy it. I just moved from Atlanta and I miss alot of the options throughout the metro atlanta area for biking, hiking and etc. 

John_McKee
John_McKee

I have wondered before why we have so many public tennis courts in the city. Is there some reason for that?

scottindallas
scottindallas

 cause tennis was big back when we hosted the WCT and funded parks.  Those old courts prolly cost too much to remove.

S Aten
S Aten

Because the city charges you to use the tennis courts.  It is a money making operation just like the golf courses.

Anon
Anon

really? I've never seen a tennis court with an attendant and a fee.

Heywood u Bizzoff
Heywood u Bizzoff

Dallas should play up this angle and actively recruit these couch 'taters!  They will demand less city services (parks, biking paths, etc) and die off before needed seniors services have to kick in.   And the smut angle will bring in doctors who treat carpel tunnel (and their tax dollars).  This is a win-win situation.

Mickister
Mickister

It sucks that Dallas is fat (we always rank poorly in health) and smutty.  Most people in Dallas are probably glad we're inhospitable to the hipster crowd. 

There may not be a lot of public places for people in Dallas to exercise, but I'm not sure if you build it, they will come.  More importantly than not exercising, people in Dallas eat poorly, like most southerners. 

But it's interesting that when Dallas ranks near the top for best economy, best place for new graduates, highest population growth, and when some of its suburbs rank near the top of the list in best places to live in America including some of the best crime statistics rankings, none of those lists find their way into a Dallas Observer blog entry. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

those get to be an entry, but then we bash the suburbs.

Lee Gibson
Lee Gibson

"We also have enough parkland, they say, making up around 13 percent of the area's total land mass." Not after the Arboretum finishes paving over half of it, we won't.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 most of our "parkland" is floodplain.  How much of that park is improved, or natural reserve, then, excluding the Trinity Floodplain/Forest, we might be scarce.  That said, we're coming a long way with the jogging trails, and I think the city is beginning to see the advantage$ to the KATY trail, and others.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Please forward to City of Ate.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

They're too busy drinking like fish and pretending alcohol is calorie-free.

Nick R.
Nick R.

City of Ate is out right now at a Bacon Shaped Taco Hamburger Crawl, but please leave a message after the buttery beep

Anna Merlan
Anna Merlan

Another one? Your arteries must look exactly like cheese straws. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

This is what happens when you don't build world-class horse parks!

Anon
Anon

Austin is a really fat city. I don't care one way or another, it just brings into question the validity of this survey. 

observist
observist

Austin steals all the young healthy people from Dallas, inflating their numbers and driving down ours.

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