In a survey of the 50 largest metro areas in the country, Knoxville ranked at the very bottom in terms of the average person's "realage," which is a number indicative of how old the person's body is in terms of health, as opposed to the calendar age. The article from the Knoxville News Sentinel has more details. Memphis is number 3, and Nashville number 7. The article mentions The Rush Fitness Complex, a chain of gyms based in Knoxville, and attempts to reverse this disturbing trend. There is no doubt that regular physical activity goes a long way toward making populations healthier.
With all the proposed budget cuts in federal spending on bike/ped that have been detailed by others, let's not forget the hidden costs with such cuts. Pedestrian trips constitute more than 10% of all trips, yet funding for such is proposed for elimination. Yet strangely, nobody is proposing eliminating funding for car traffic. An inactive lifestyle brings costs in terms of poor health and increased health-care costs, not to mention decreased productivity. While there is nothing wrong with getting workouts at a gym, isn't it ironic that people are almost forced to drive to the gym for a workout? Complete streets that are built for all modes have been consistently shown to increase property values, not to mention making places preferable to live in.
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