Feeling Fat, Energetic or Unhappy? America's Got a City for You!

Feeling sad? Bursting with energy? Enjoying the invigorating swagger of being a man's man? There's a city out there for you.

A variety of research organizations and published reports take pride in ranking the nation's towns and metropolises on numerous fronts. Some are helpful -- such as the safest city and the most dangerous -- while others are more for bragging rights.

"We're not trying to cure cancer in some of these instances," said Burt Sperling of Sperling's BestPlaces, which has put out several study-based lists over the past 20 years.

Sperling's first study ranked Flint, Mich,. as the worst place to live in 1987. In 2007, it ranked West Palm Beach, Fla., as the worst place for fleas.

"There's always a feeling: How are we doing compared to other people?" Sperling said.

Here are a few examples of cities where Americans congregate to get fat, stay healthy, be depressed and more.

Manliest City

Nashville, Tenn.

Monster truck rallies, NASCAR and an abundance of snack food made the home of the Grand Ole Opry the best place to be a guy -- or to find one, perhaps.

Commissioned by Mars Snackfood US and its Combos brand, a study conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces showed that Nashville ranks No. 1 in terms of manliness. The study came with the launch of Combos' Ultimate Man Zone Sweepstakes

Among the criteria that earned the city its top spot are its Major League sports teams, its consumption of salty snacks, the popularity of hardware and tools, concentration of barbecue restaurants and the aforementioned monster truck rallies.

Cities lost points in the study for having too many "emasculating" qualities, including too many home furnishing stores, high minivan sales and subscriptions to beauty magazines. Last on the list? New York City, though the Big Apple did score well in the bowling category.

Unhappiest City

Portland, Ore.

Portland, with 222 cloudy days per year, is the biggest downer in the country, according to Business Week.

Portland was tops among a study of 50 of the largest metro areas that looked at a variety of factors, including the rates of depression, suicide, divorce, crime and unemployment, as well as the weather and the amount of green space.

Among the 50 cities, Portland also ranked No. 1 for depression, as well as No. 4 for divorce.

With a December unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, the city ranked No. 12 for suicides and 24 for crime.

Most Recession-Proof City

Arlington, Va.

This Washington, D.C., surburb is the best place to ride out the recession, according to Business Week. While the economy has affected pretty much every corner of the country, Arlington-ites are doing better than most.

The city's residents work largely for the federal government or in lobbying or legal jobs, Business Week reported, while only 7 percent work in vulnerable fields such as finance, real estate and insurance.

Towns and cities with unemployment rates of more than 6.1 percent were automatically disqualified from this ranking.

Most Energetic City

San Francisco (Bay Area)

Good job, San Franciscans: You have more energy than any other city, accoding to Sperling's Best Places, which put together this study with beverage line Tahitian Noni International.

"They seem to get things done," Sperling noted.

Sperling's study, which measured health, wellness and overall energy, noted that San Francisco ranked in the 90th percentile for walking and biking to work and for partaking in moderate to vigorous exercise.

"Not only that, they looked great," the study reported, "with one of our study's lowest BMI scores."

The Bay Area also ranked No. 1 for recreational opportunities with the highest scores for both natural resources and fitness facilities, according to the study.

Safest Place to Live

Ramapo, N.Y.

The Rockland County town, located less than an hour north of Manhattan, is the safest place to live, according to CQ Press' "City Crime Rankings 2008-2009: Crime in Metropolitan America."

Home to nearly 109,000 people, according to the 2000 census, Ramapo had the lowest crime ranking, with 688 reported incidents in 2007 and no murders. The village is home to a conglomeration of villages and small hamlets, as well as a community college and a large population of Hasidic Jews.

New Orleans scored the lowest in the study, with 19,034 reported crimes and 209 murders in the same year.

Fattest City


A Men's Fitness study ranked Miami -- known for it's night life and scantily clad beachgoers -- as the nation's fattest city with 65 percent of residents being heavy enough to increase their risk of weight-related health problems.

The study showed that despite having 79 percent more gyms and health clubs than the average city, residents were less likely than average to use their gym memberships. Men's Fitness reported that Miami also had three times the fast-food restaurants as the average city and 74 percent more pizza restaurants.

They also scored low in participation in outdoor activities such as biking and running. Some factors though, may not be all their fault. The study also reported that Miami's commute is 50 percent "more oppressive" than average and was ranked the worst in terms of air quality.

The Men's Fitness report card for Miami seemed to be a list of contradiction -- A for fitness centers, B+ for nutrition and B- for geography. Yet it also gave the city an F for motivation, junk food and television viewing.

Fittest City

Salt Lake City

You can't have the fattest without the fittest. It might behoove Miami residents to spend more time in Salt Lake City, where, also according to Men's Fitness, residents participate in a impressive array of sports, from basketball, hiking, skiing and beach volleyball.

Utah's state capital was a newcomer to the Men's Fitness list. Mayor Ralph Becker told the magazine that "outdoor recreation is simply a part of the lives of those who call Salt Lake City home."

Men's Fitness reported that Salt Lake City residents pack in at least a half-hour of daily exercise and watch 23 percent less television than average.

While some of the Men's Fitness report card rankings were less than stellar -- F+ for junk food and C- for access to health care -- Salt Lake City scored A's in motivation, sports participation, fitness centers and parks and open space.