Oaklanders and San Franciscans Are Pretty Fit

Recently, Men’s Fitness released their annual listing of the fittest and fattest cities across America.  They ranked the 50 largest cities, including all three Bay  Area metros.  San Francisco and Oakland were among the fittest (#12 and #20) places, while San Jose landed in the fattest ranks (#15) overall.

That makes sense when you add up all the different criteria below.  San Franciscans log fewer hours with their TVs, have places to work out, can access healthcare, and aren’t as overweight as folks in other places.  Interestingly, Oaklanders receive top grades for their junk food and overweight criteria.  All three cities share great geography and state obesity initiatives.

Men's Fitness Cities

However some of these fitness results are head-scratchers, because they don’t reflect realities of available resources.  We found details about survey criteria, which describe calculations falling within strict city limits – and that explains a lot.

  • Parks: Take a look at the grades for parks and open spaces in Oakland (C-), San Francisco (D+) and San Jose (F), which seem off-kilter.  We know that many Oaklanders take advantage of the East Bay Regional Parks.  Likewise, San Franciscans use the access trails along the Pacific Ocean.  Even San Jose residents escape to nearby regional and state parks.
  • Junk Food: The junk food grades also seem a little counter-intuitive, showing Oakland (A-) and San Jose (B+) beating out San Francisco (C).  Perhaps there are more fast-food joints per capita in San Francisco, but it sure doesn’t feel that way.  At the same time, nutrition rankings redeem San Francisco (A) when compared to Oakland (B) and San Jose (C).
  • Air Quality: Finally, the air quality rankings are suspect.  Oaklanders don’t lack for fresh air, and Montclarions literally revel in their mountain-like environs.  We see a lower grade (C+) than San Francisco (B+) , while San Jose’s grade (D) makes sense in the valley.

Yet this Men’s Fitness list provides valid, apples-to-apples comparisons among major U.S. cities.  Assuming these quality-of-life indicators are priorities, we should try to improve some of these grades.  Access to health care and exercise facilities are common goods, right?

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Survey Says: We’re Moderately Healthy

When outsiders look at Montclarions, they may see hippy, organic health nuts.  After all, our crowning glory is a weekly farmers’ market, which we support come rain or shine.  Montclair won’t ever become a classic white bread and jello place – but it shouldn’t wave the humorless tofu nation’s flag either.

Today in Montclair conducted a health survey (questions here) which revealed we are fairly moderate in our daily habits.   Some Montclarions eat right and exercise, while others just lounge, eat junk and hang out online.  We are a mixed bag.

Local Runner

Let’s start with the exercise you favor.

Gym attendance seems to be an all-or-nothing proposition, since over 40% of you attend after the new year and all year long.  What’s more, regular attendees are showing up at least ten-plus times monthly.  During visits, everyone hits the weights while about half mix them with aerobics.

Walking figures into your lives, with 85% saying you head out on streets or trails during the month.  Most walk with other adults or dogs, and a quarter of you stroll six or more times monthly.  Hiking must be on the weekends, since you go wandering only a handful of times.  Over half of respondents run or jog, but there are only a few who tie up their running shoes ten-plus times monthly.

The more soul-stirring pilates, yoga and spa activities didn’t register strongly in the results.  About 15% of you partake but I wonder if there is something about a survey that isn’t appealing to the yoginis.  Regular sports like bicycle riding were reported, with half of you getting off the sofa.

You eat and feel a little guilty.

Well, Montclarions definitely enjoy their candy most and nearly 30% ate sweet treats six-plus times each month.  Some 85% also scarf chips or salty snacks at least four or more times per month.  Nearly everyone is worried about eating too much food generally.

We asked about vices and bad habits, and you confessed about white foods the most, like popcorn, buttered rice, bagels and toast.  Booze, beer, wine and coffee also made the list.  Other foods like ice cream, desert and fried items were mentioned, but not very often.

You are still healthy villagers, when it comes to overall eating habits.  Over 40% buy fast-food meals, but only average three meals monthly.  Around 70% of you have breakfast, consume veggies and eat fruit at least ten times per month.  Some 40% take vitamins and supplements, too.  All very impressive, don’t you agree?

We asked you to pass judgment.

It turns out that you are worried about your eating, exercise and online routines.  You registered some concerns about how often your partner/spouse exercised or surfed online.  For kids still at home, you monitored their online habits but felt they were okay.  No one focused on their family’s TV viewing habits, so the times are a changing.

We’d like to thank the survey participants, who ranged from 30-49 years old and split 25% male and 75% female.  If you would still like to add your two cents, then I have left the survey open.

Take Survey: How Healthy Are Montclarions?

With the new year coverage of resolutions, it sparks curiosity about Montclarions.  Rather than asking a few coffee shop devotees and neighbors, we decided to conduct a quick survey to gauge the healthy or unhealthy habits of Montclarions.

By answering these simple questions, we hope to profile your fitness and health routines – for the new year and beyond.  Who needs national trends when it’s more interesting to find out what we actually do?   Click here to participate.

Survey Guy

Here are the areas we probe:   How often do you exercise and what kinds of exercise?  What are your good and bad eating habits?  What vices or habits are you willing to admit?  How obsessed are you about yourself or family?  The questions are multiple choice and take a few minutes to complete.

Let’s see how many Montclarions are bigger talkers versus walkers, so to speak.  Thanks in advance for your participation…and we’ll report back soon.