HOUSTON (Reuters) - Houston tops a U.S. magazine's annual fattest cities list for the fourth time in five years, with four other Texas cities waddling into the top 25.
Fast food restaurants -- Houston has twice the national per capita average -- are partly to blame for the dishonor, Men's Fitness editor-in-chief Neal Boulton said.
"Americans ... work long hours, don't take vacations, and when you're faced with the worst nutritional choices, you indulge in those," he said.
High humidity, poor air quality and some of the nation's longest commute times also helped Texas' most populous city unseat Detroit, the 2004 heavyweight champion, the magazine said.
Houston Mayor Bill White, who has worked with a major grocer to promote healthy food and the city's public schools superintendent to improve lunch menus, called the survey "mostly voodoo and fraud."
"On the other hand, it calls attention to real issues the mayor is trying to address," his spokesman, Frank Michel, said.
The magazine said it looked at factors such as the number and types of restaurants, park space, air quality, weather and the number of health clubs.
Philadelphia, Detroit, Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago followed Houston on the seventh edition of the fat list. Texas cities Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth and El Paso were in the top 14, which Boulton said was no surprise.
"It's pure big indulgence, just living big, and that's part of the culture," said Boulton.
Seattle ranked as the fittest city, followed by Honolulu, Hawaii, Colorado Springs, Colorado, San Francisco and Denver.
Austin and Arlington, a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb, were the only Texas cities on the fit list. Austin was 19th and Arlington 22nd out of 25.
Oh yeah, blame it on fast food, long commutes, poor air quality and high humidity. Don't blame the people who eat garbage and then vegetate in front of the television. They're just victims of their environment.