Study suggests Tampa may be full of gym rats

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Tampa has been rated a lot of things – snobby, sexy, poor. Welp, now there’s another to tack onto the list and it may contribute to why Tampans are snobby and sexy. According to WalletHub, a financial interest website that seems to be more so dedicated to silly studies, ranked Tampa sixth out of the nation’s 100 most populous cities for active lifestyles.

Tampa ranked fourth in overall outdoor access and environment — that’s for things like parks and sports facilities -– but came in 25 in “budget and participation.”

While Tampa didn’t rank in the top five of any one particular category, it also didn’t rank in the last five either. Tampa came in the top 10 in the total number of fitness centers per person at number 8. The city just missed the top 25 percent of most affordable monthly fitness club fees. The study ranked Tampa 27 in that category. The area fared the worst – number 44 – in number of parkland acres per capita.

Tampa also faired well with the number of swimming pools and public golf courses and just above average in the number of basketball hoops per person and on the “walk score.” That’s entertaining considering Tampa has one of the highest pedestrian mortality rates in the entire country.

While WalletHub’s latest study may seem to add to a list of rather inconsequential “best of’ lists,” it’s not entirely outside the website’s realm of looking out for Americans’ financial interests.

Treatment of obesity-related health issues costs Americans as much as $210 billion a year, according to WalletHub. And the most commonly broken New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight and get fit. The study, according to an email from the website’s marketing department, is meant to draw attention to the need to balance holiday food consumption with ample physical activity.

Based on the study, folks in Laredo, Texas, should probably hit the gym – they’re ranked last on the WalletHub list. Orlando can smile. After being royally dissed by landing on the bad side of the most attractive cities list, those ugly central Floridians have Tampa beat this time. Orlando came in number 5 on the list of most active cities.

So, Orlando, while your residents may not be very good looking, at least they’re paper-bag worthy.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email