Wed, Aug 31, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Chiayi, Taipei top annual poll as ‘fittest cities’

Staff Writer, with CNA

Chiayi and Taipei are the “fittest” cities, with the governments of the two municipalities committed to taking measures to fight obesity, according to the results of a magazine survey released yesterday.

The poll ranking “the city most dedicated to combating obesity” was the focus of Chinese-language Common Health Magazine’s 12th annual healthy city survey.

The monthly magazine evaluated 22 cities and counties based on residents’ physical shape, whether the living environment is exercise-friendly and the municipalities’ policies on addressing obesity.

Chiayi Mayor Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠) attributed her city’s success to an increase in the number of parks since she took office in 2005.

“These places are convenient for residents to exercise,” she said at a news conference in Taipei marking the release of the survey results.

One of the initiatives in her city is paving stones in the parks that bear calorie charts for different foods, which show residents how much exercise they need to do to burn excess calories from the food they have eaten, according to Huang.

This facility helped Chiayi City receive top marks in the survey’s sub-index of policies, according to the magazine.

Meanwhile, Taipei performed well in the sub-index dealing with living environment, which is as a result of its safer, spacious surroundings such as well-maintained sidewalks and parks.

The capital has also been adopting various measures to deal with obesity, including promoting one meal of fruit and vegetables a day and laying out more parks, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said.

The magazine also suggested that the central government help battle the national problem of obesity by creating an environment with more incentives for losing weight, such as setting up more drinking fountains in parks, sports facilities and train stations. This would help encourage people to drink water instead of soft drinks containing a lot of sugar, which can cause people to gain weight, the magazine said.

The results of the survey were compiled from official statistics and telephone interviews conducted between July 11 and Aug. 5. The survey collected 14,390 valid samples and had a confidence level of 95 percent with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 to 3.1 percentage points.

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