I’ve lived in Memphis since I was in high school and my family moved to the area. I generally like Memphis – we’ve got delicious Memphis restaurants and lots of fun entertainment here. It’s not that bad of a place, right? You make the best of what you’ve got!
However, Memphis has a few unfortunate best of/most city designations. Most of those are Memphis on the top of crime lists, since we often are on top cities for violent crimes and murders. Its not bad enough that Memphis takes the number one spot on lists for violent crime, but the city also ranks high on lists for unhealthy attributes.
Memphis, the most sedentary city on our list, landed at the top for scoring high on every indicator. In terms of BMI, 65% of the population is overweight or obese. Though the city is slightly behind the national rate at 66%, about 30% of its residents neglect to exercise regularly. Combined with the 41 hours of TV watched per week–the national average is 30, assuming that patterns remain relatively constant–the numbers revealed the extent of Memphis’ problem.
“We have heavily invested in a sedentary, sprawling lifestyle,” says Tom Jones, a Memphis-based consultant for Smart City Consulting.
Jones’ former colleague, Carol Coletta, president of the nonprofit organization CEOs for Cities, also points out that the economically bifurcated population, lack of transit options, unwalkable neighborhoods and favored Southern cuisine are a “deadly formula” for the city.
It’s unfortunate that Memphis is on these lists and at the top of them. Memphis has a long way to go before these rankings change, we definitely have some really unhealthy habits.
Unhealthy habits of Memphis:
BBQ loving – We love our BBQ but it’s such an unhealthy food! Even at my favorite BBQ restaurant it’s very hard to get a healthy meal and asking for a salad brings you back something with a fried tortilla and lots of ranch dressing. Eating so much fatty, high calorie BBQ
Long commutes – Memphis is a hugely sprawling city and most people have a long commute to work. I’ve had up to 30 minute commutes in the city and some people I know have driven 45 minutes and one bad days take up to an hour to get home. That’s a lot of time sitting in a car!
Sedentary – We sit at home, sit in our cars, sit at work. Some of us sit all day and all night! It’s definitely not healthy and our sedentary lifestyles as a whole are a contributing factor to our unhealthy weights and lives. If we want to fix the problem we definitely have to stop leading such sedentary lives where we spend time sitting down all day.
High weights. So many of us in Memphis are overweight and obese. Our high weights cause lots of other problems like chronic diseases. Heart disease, diabetes, etc. are all things that could be helped by living at a healthier weight.
Healthy habits Memphis needs:
Exercise! Memphians needs to exercise more. This shouldn’t be too hard with all the great options we have like biking the Greenline, hiking at Shelby Farms, or working out at gyms like the Kroc Center.
Walk or bike part of the way to work. I say part of the way because Memphis is such a sprawling city it’s hard to do the whole commute car or bus free. I have only had 1 job/living situation
Watch less TV! That’s hard for a lot of people who find TV their primary form of entertainment. Memphis has a lot of outdoor activities that you can do for fun but it’s a whole different ballgame getting people to participate when they are used to being couch potatoes.
Those are just a few of the things wrong with Memphis and a few of the things we need to do to be healthier.
I think Memphis can definitely become a healthier city as a whole. It’s something we have to prioritize as a city and continually work towards together with healthy weight loss initiatives and increased access to good food and healthy habits. It’s definitely something the city government has been mentioning a lot so it’s something that everyone knows about and wants to work toward achieving.