SEATTLE – Seattle has been named the fittest city in the United States in the February issue of Men's Fitness magazine, leaping past the buff competition from Honolulu, Colorado Springs, San Francisco and Denver.
Exercising faithfully and shunning fast food boosted Seattle (search) to the top from No. 6 last year, Men's Fitness Editor in Chief Neal Boulton said.
"Eighty-five percent of Seattle residents get some exercise every month, and that's a really significant thing," Boulton said. The city's jittery love affair with espresso might fuel some of that activity, he noted: "There's not only a lot of it, it's pretty darn strong."
In its nonscientific Seventh Annual Fattest and Fittest Cities Report, the magazine compares 50 cities by weighing 14 factors, including fast food restaurants per capita, TV watching, air quality, and parks. In Seattle, for example, sporting goods stores and gyms outnumber fast food joints — a key statistic.
Houston (search) was named the fattest city for the fourth time in five years, followed by Philadelphia, Detroit, Memphis and Chicago.
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels praised the city's many walking trails and called the fitness of his fellow residents "inspirational."
Nickels said he made a New Year's resolution to get in better shape by walking with his wife and working out at a gym near City Hall.
"It's pretty hard to go more than a few blocks without seeing a gym," Nickels said.
Seattle's claim to the fitness crown makes sense to Doug Sherry and his Wheaten Terrier, Bing, who walk the three-mile path around Seattle's Green Lake every day, rain or shine.
"Everyone I know does something," explained Sherry, 35, who also hits the gym several times a week. "There's lots of good terrain to walk and bike and hike. You're close to the water, you're close to the mountains."
His advice for those seeking to emulate Seattle's healthy ways?
"Enjoy the outdoors," Sherry said. "And get a dog."