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Mobile, the city in which I live, received quite a distinction this past week:

MOBILE, Alabama — This is one of the worst places to live in the country, according to an analysis by 24/7 Wall St., a financial news website.  The website ranked Mobile as the 3rd most miserable city in the country.

Only the Huntington and Charleston areas of West Virginia are worse, according to the analysis, which drew on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index for its data.

In 2011, when I last wrote about our misery in this space, we were #14 (actually we were 174/188 and now we are number 183 but apparently 3rd most miserable sells more ads). I don’t like the way this trend is going. I pointed out last time that our selling point (low overhead) was not what people were buying. Hitting #3 got the new media attention, but the local commenters are still not convinced:

The report is weighted towards health, and mental health. Mobile’s health issues are bad ,in part, because Mobile has not invested in healthy municipal infrastructure like walking trails, usable accessible parks, and outdoor activities that require physical action. Yes…Many Mobilians are fat and overweight from a lack of exercise and unhealthy fried foods saturated with fats. With unhealthy foods and a lack of exercise, people don’t “feel good about themselves.”  [More importantly} according to the report Alabama has the 8th lowest tax rate in America. I guess you missed the following:

” 8. Alabama
> Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income: 8.2%
> Total state and local taxes collected: $13.28 billion (25th lowest)
> Pct. of total taxes paid by residents: 68.0% (21st lowest)
> Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents: 32.0% (21st highest)

I was contacted by a local news media outlet for a comment …ok, I have to confess that after reading comments like the one above I contacted them and offered my opinion…and was asked for my thoughts (found here)

I elected to focus on how easy it would be to improve our physical fitness. Why?

The results of that survey, Perkins said, made it clear that Mobilians suffer from poor mental and physical health in large part because the city’s built environment is not conducive to being active. Access to healthy foods in poor neighborhoods is also poor, he said.

In otherwords, if you believe the Canadian government we might make it back up to to 174:

The body responds positively to physical activity, which impacts the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and endocrine systems. This results in positive health outcomes, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and several cancers, as well as other health conditions.

There are many benefits of physical activity for individuals’ health and wellness, including:

  • Better overall health
  • Improved fitness
  • Better posture and balance
  • Positive self-esteem
  • Healthy weight and weight control
  • Improves your mood
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Reduces the risk of falls
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Increased energy
  • Relaxation and reduced stress
  • Continued independent living in later life
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