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Men's magazine names Houston nation's fattest city -- again

Sunday, January 5, 2003

HOUSTON -- Houston, we still have a weight problem.

For the third year in a row, "Men's Fitness" magazine has named the city the nation's fattest, blaming the region's hot and humid climate, "abysmal" air quality, relative lack of outdoor recreation and residents' love of junk food.

The country's fourth-largest city topped a list of 25 cities, followed by Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

Last year, the city launched a Get Lean Houston! initiative, aiming to encourage residents to get fit and live healthier lives. It also named Lee Labrada, a former Mr. Universe, as the city's first fitness czar.

Skeptical of survey

Labrada said he's skeptical of surveys like the magazine's, and places more stock in studies like a recent one by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC interviewed 185,000 Americans by telephone in 55 U.S. cities to determine the percentage of people who are overweight or obese.

"Houston was not even in the top 10," Labrada said.

Houston Mayor Lee Brown, who last year admitted he had packed on a few pounds, has lost 20 pounds since.

"We do not relish the title bestowed upon us by 'Men's Fitness' magazine," Brown said in a statement, "and will continue to work to involve all Houstonians in our programs to improve the overall health and fitness of the city's residents."


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