2009 Fattest Cities: #6 Houston, TX

  • Fitness Centers & Sport Stores: D+
  • Nutrition: C
  • Sports Participation: D
  • TV Viewing: B-
  • Overweight/Sedentary: F
  • Junk Food: D+
  • Air Quality: F+
  • Geography: F+
  • Commute: F+
  • Parks & Open Space: D-
  • City Rec Facilities: F
  • Access to Healthcare: D
  • Motivation: B+
  • Mayor & City Initiatives: A
  • State Obesity Initiatives: B
  • What's Good
    Mayor Bill White participates in more fitness-related public events than most mayors. He also exercises up to 5 days per week.

    Houston residents are 3 percent more likely than average to actually use their gym or health-club memberships, according to our comparison of membership trends and club use, including machine use, exercising with weights, cardio classes, yoga and martial arts, among others.

    Aerobic rider machines are all the rage in Houston. People here are 119 percent more likely than average to use them.

    What's Not
    The local commute is much more oppressive than in most cities - 42 percent more oppressive than average, leaving less time to exercise and prepare healthy meals. Commuter stress may also raise levels of cortisol, a hormone linked to weight gain and other health problems.

    Golfers are limited to 7 city-owned courses. Relative to population, that's less than almost anywhere else we surveyed.

    There are 74 percent fewer tennis courts per capita here than average among cities in our survey.

    According to the CDC, 38.5 percent of adults here are heavy enough to increase their risk for weight-related health problems. That's the 6th worst score of any city in our survey. Compare it to a national average of 36.09 percent.

    Air quality here is among the most unhealthful of any city in our survey, according to EPA air quality standards. Unhealthy air makes outdoor exercise hazardous.

    Donuts are 132 percent more popular here than average, according to a comparison of places where they are sold. Houston has the 6th highest number of donut outlets per capita in our survey.

    Texas state law limits or prohibits obesity-related lawsuits against food manufacturers and restaurants.

    Houston residents are 92 percent less likely than average to go cross-country skiing. That's the 4th lowest rate in our survey.

    Just 1 percent of Houston residents practice martial arts, the 4th lowest participation rate in our survey.

    Just 2 percent of Houston residents have a home gym. That's 42 percent less than average, and the 4th lowest rate in our survey.

    The residents of Houston are 90 percent less likely than average to be found snowshoeing, the 4th lowest in our survey.

    Basketball courts are practically nonexistent here, among the fewest per capita in our survey. There's just one court here for every 13,465 residents; the national average is one court per 6,909 people.

    Houston residents are 40 percent less likely than average to go in-line skating. That's the 3rd lowest in our survey.

    Houston residents are 44 percent less likely than average to play soccer - the 3rd lowest rate in our survey.

    Houston residents are 66 percent less likely than average to participate in gymnastics, the 2nd lowest rate in our survey.

    Residents of Houston are 38 percent less likely than average to participate in spinning type cycling classes, the 2nd lowest rate of any city in our survey.

    Even table tennis doesn't get takers here - residents are 42 percent less likely than average to play table tennis - the lowest rate in our survey.

    Houston has the lowest cheerleading participation rate of any city in our survey, 93 percent lower than average.

    Houston residents are 38 percent less likely than average to play recreational basketball, the lowest participation rate of any city in our survey.

    Just 5 percent of Houston residents play golf. That's 48 percent less than average and the lowest rate in our survey.

    Only 1.5 percent of kids in Houston get exercise by riding scooters, the lowest in our survey.

    Residents are 28 percent less likely than average to bowl - the lowest rate of any city in our survey.

    Residents of Houston are 96 percent less likely than average to go snowboarding - the lowest rate in our survey. Even Miami residents snowboard more.

    Back to 2009 Fittest/Fattest Cities

Want more Men's Fitness?

Sign Up for our newsletters now.