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Richmond scores big as second fattest city

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Richmond seems to make a list at least once a week. This time we made a big showing that should weigh heavy on all of us.

According to Newsweek's TheDailyBeast.com, with 29.4 percent of the population weighing-in as obese,  we place as second fattest city in the country.

We would certainly rather be known for our skylines than our waistlines.

"I can't believe that," said Richmonder Alex Ortega.

"I would not have thought that," said Anna Clay, another Richmonder.

Richmond is in second place behind only Memphis, Tennessee.

“Maybe it's because of all our good restaurants and plenty of places to eat," said Clay, hopefully.

That’s just a part of it, according to HCA Nurse Practitioner and professional bodybuilder Sandra Steele.  She said portion control, caloric and sugar intake also play a big part. "It's like a bank account,” Steele said.  “You put stuff in and don't withdraw anything by exercising, then that fat stores in your liver and you get big."

Tipping the scales?  Listen to this.  “My average patient is 240 pounds and is 5'4" tall,” says Steele.  “It makes it a challenge, especially knowing that we can do something about it."

That something Steele claims is as simple as her special prescription. “The number one prescription I make is diet and exercise,” she said.  “It's about what you eat and put in your mouth."

On an overcast day in Richmond Tuesday, there are plenty of joggers at work, perhaps out to prove that Newsweek’s Daily Beast numbers are wrong.

From TheDailyBeast.com:

To compile the list of the fattest cities in America, we turned to Gallup’s Well-Being Index, one of the most comprehensive studies of American health and happiness. The study, published early last year, provides the percentage of the population that’s obese, as well as other integral health indicators such as frequency of exercise and diabetes prevalence, for more than 50 large metro areas. The locales were ranked based on obesity, but we listed other factors for reference.

About Richmond:

% of population that is obese: 29.4

% of population with diabetes: 9.9

% of population that exercises frequently: 50.2

% of population that eats produce regularly: 58.1

Ortega says a cultural change over generations may be one reason the numbers are supersized.   “Most kids aren’t active,” he says.  “All they do is play video games and that's different from 30 or 40 years ago."

Ever the optimist, Steele also says to remember to lose weight in moderation.  If you lose too much too fast, it could cause other serious health issues.