Wallet Hub study finds city of McAllen as one of the most obese cities in America
A study just released by Wallet Hub, a financial advising website, says the McAllen-Mission-Edinburg area has the most physically inactive adults and obese adults in the entire nation.
The study puts McAllen at number three out of 100 most obese cities in America.
The study posted online compares 100 of the most populated metro areas using 18 key indicators of weight-related problems, like diabetes and overeating.
But the McAllen Health Benefits staff say that is not the case.
"I don't think it reflects our community at all," said McAllen Health Benefits Coordinator Jolee Perez. "I think it's based on statistics, based off a particular source, or maybe a multiple arena of sources. However, it doesn't truly capture our community."
Perez says the data is incorrect because of incomplete information. Wallet Hub says they based their findings off a 100-point scale, breaking down each city's weight average across all metrics including obesity, health consequences, food and fitness intake.
After reviewing the metrics, McAllen ended up with 79.94 points, bumping it up to the third most obese city in the nation.
Nina Rivera, who comes to the park five days a week, says the study's findings is sad.
"This is really a tragedy because we have all these beautiful parks, we don't take advantage of them and don't use them," said Rivera.
McAllen has 27 parks and recently started the Mayor's Fitness Council, which encourages the community to stay fit together.
"We're extremely committed to health," said Perez. "We have been for the last five, six years. It started with our Move It McAllen! Lets move challenges, where we were named the only city to receive the all star 5-star gold medal."
The city has even invested in seven bike and hike trails and free yoga classes. Now it's just about knowing where they are and how to use them.
"Once we cover the education part, then we move on to nutrition, and exercise and rest and recovery," said Rafael Curiel, a wellness coach with the city of McAllen.
McAllen recently won a statewide community health challenge for the It's Time Texas Challenge where more than 2,000 McAllen residents logged their exercise activity and altogether lost 273 pounds.