Felix talks about the fact that urbanites are thinner than their suburban counterparts and he ventures some explanations for why this might be so. Matt DeBord becomes unhinged and slams Felix as an elitist who is ignorant of the athletic he-men who actually populate suburbia. It’s a real ranter’s rant:
Oy! Talk about an east-of-the-Hudson River, blinkered mindset. There are plenty of cities in the U.S.â€”and the rest of the worldâ€”where the urban concentration isnâ€™t that dense, people own carsâ€¦and remain thin while eating both restaurant cuisine and keeping the pantry stocked, preparing delicious, unfattening meals at home. Thatâ€™s right, they have restaurants! And they donâ€™t eat their ice cream by the gallon while watching Survivor! Some of them even use their cars to transport their bikes to the (beach, mountains) to ride them forâ€¦miles and miles! Or they drive someplace rugged and scenic to take a hike. Or they take frequent walks while also owning a car!
I’ve tangled with DeBord before. He is very eager to throw out the elitist charge, and not particularly anxious to read and think about what folks have actually written.
But the bottom line is that there is a very strong correlation between living in sprawl and being obese. And while it isn’t necessarily the case that sprawl makes people fat, it is the case that obese people move to the burbs because it’s so easy to be fat there, what with the not having to walk and the many drive through restaurants and so on.
And it’s cool for me to say this because I grew up in the most suburban suburb ever, in the south, no less, which is like a double cootie shot against charges of elitism. Not that background should matter, of course, when one is making a factually accurate statement.
Update: Yes, yes, I misspelled “elitist.” Ironic, no? Happily, actual Manhattan elite Matt Yglesias long ago shattered the spelling barrier in blogging.