Louisville, You Can Do Better

I know I’m an exception around here. Over the weekend I played some golf, hit a racquetball around, used my bike as transportation to get somewhere, bought some fresh produce and made some healthy food choices. I don’t have asthma, heart disease or diabetes, and thank goodness never took up the awful habit of smoking.

So in Minneapolis, which tops the American Fitness Index just released, I’d fit right in. In Louisville, ranked 49th of 50 cities studied, healthy lifestyles aren’t so cool. But maybe we’re making some progress.

Thanks goodness for Oklahoma City, which finished last.  Here’s the good news, which comes partly as a result of all the publicity Metro Government has generated in its Healthy Hometown Movement — we’re doing great at providing parks, golf courses, tennis courts and farmer’s markets.  I’m not sure how much we’re using them.

Yes, we’re fat, diseased, smoke too much and don’t make enough money. We suffer bad mental health days. Not enough swimming pools and playgrounds.We don’t require Physical Education in our schools.

Maybe events like Friday’s Bike to Work Day will help, but we’ve got a long way to go to catch up with our peer cities. Take Cincinnati, which ranks 14th overall and first in “Community Health Indicators” like requiring P.E. in schools and having recreation facilities.

We can change, but we probably won’t. I suspect that we get a bad rap because these studies include really unhealthy rural areas. Too many of the stories that top the news are about irresponsible behavior involving drug use. But let’s take some good news from it — the farmer’s markets, the parks, the bike initiatives, next week’s Hike, Bike and Paddle Event, are all helping for those of us willing to work at good health.