North Texas Among Hardest Places To Stay Fit


Someone jogs along a paved path | Image by Daniel Reche/Pexels

Multiple North Texas towns have been ranked among the worst cities in the United States for individuals trying to maintain an active lifestyle.

As is usually the case in the weeks following New Year’s Day, Americans make vows to pursue better health. In a national survey, “improving physical health” ranked No.1, while “exercising more” and “eating healthier” ranked No.3 and No.4, respectively. However, that could be harder to do in parts of North Texas, at least according to a new study by WalletHub.

Out of the 100 biggest U.S. cities in which to stay fit, Garland ranked No.99, the second worst, and Irving ranked No.96. Arlington sat a little further up the list at No.87. Closer to the middle of the list was Plano at No.36, Dallas at No.44, and Fort Worth at No.68.

As previously reported in The Dallas Express, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has rapidly become one of the more overweight metro areas in the country, following an alarming trend of increased obesity rates around the United States. 

The WalletHub rankings were compiled based on 36 factors ranging from the number of baseball fields in a town to the average price of a gym membership.

Some interesting tidbits from the study include that the city of Irving has the third least number of basketball courts and ranks No.80 for land devoted to public parks. Fort Worth has the third least number of swimming pools, and Garland sits at No.95 in the country for its number of fitness clubs per capita.

Additionally, Fort Worth and Arlington are considered some of the country’s least walkable cities, meaning residents often miss out on burning calories walking to work, shopping centers, and other neighborhoods.

At the top of the list of best cities to stay fit in were Honolulu, San Francisco, and New York City, which so happen to be some of the most walkable cities in the country.

There is still hope for other parts of Texas, as Austin placed No.16 and San Antonio ranked No.23 on the overall list.

Connie Tompkins, an associate professor of exercise science and director of the Physical Activity and Wellness Science Laboratory at the University of Vermont, said it is crucial for cities to inform residents of all their opportunities to stay fit.

Cities that rank lower on the list should work on developing an “intentionally built, clean, and safe environment that allows physical activity opportunities to be accessible to all,” such as sidewalks and playgrounds, Tompkins stated.

Despite North Texas’ unfortunate rankings, obesity is a huge problem facing the entire nation, young and old alike.

When asked how parents can encourage children to be active in order to combat obesity, Tompkins replied:

First, do not put focus on weight (or weight loss); focus on instilling healthy, lifelong behaviors. Weight loss, if desired, can be thought of as a side effect of engaging in healthy behaviors.”

Tompkins said that the key is for parents to model good behavior for their children and help them “find an activity they enjoy.”

“Some kids are not team-sports kind of kids, and that is ok,” said Tompkins. “There are other options – biking, cross country, track and field, tennis, and golf to name a few. Have them find something to do each season.”

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