Kansas City has long been known as the city of great steaks - and obesity. The steaks are still great, and we've shed some of that other perception in recent years.
But we still have a long way to go. This month’s Ingram’s could serve as a conduit to help reposition the Kansas City area and turn one of America’s ‘Fattest Cities’ into one of its fittest. It may be ironic to hear this from me, as I’m a bit overweight now. But I intend to do my part to help make Kansas City fitter. I’ll get back to that soon.
Without trying to be cliché, my story really does begin in early childhood. One day when I was about six years old, our family was watching the black-and-white TV in our living room—the only air-conditioned room in our house. At that age, my parents were always testing my ability to read. To set the stage, my Italian mother Jean, has always been a great cook. My Irish father, John—Jack, to his friends—was always a great consumer, and at top weight, he sported 300 pounds. I’ve tried to blame my weight somewhat on heredity, but that theory isn’t holding up any more.
Dad asked me to check the TV Guide and tell him what was on the tube. I read it but didn’t respond. He asked again and I still wouldn’t answer. This began a heated series of questions about what was on each of the four stations we could tune in: “What’s on 9?” If memory serves, it was Bowling for Dollars. “What’s on 5?” It may have been Lawrence Welk. “What’s on 4?” Again, I answered and it may have been Hee Haw. “What’s on 41?”
This one, I remember exactly. And always will. I didn’t answer.
“Damn it Joe, what’s on 41?” More silence. “Confound it Joe, what the hell’s on 41?”
“You’re Too Fat!” I cried out, and, like a scene from Leave it Beaver, I swiftly ran to my room in fear of what might follow. I was terrified. As I pounced up the stairs, I heard a few giggles from my brothers and sister and even from my mom—at this stage, we were all targets. Dad got out of his barcalounger and read it for himself, I heard an outburst of belly laughing. Thank God! To think, this moment would remain one of my most vivid and traumatic childhood memories.
Fat to Fit
Many of us become complacent about our weight and continuing a fitness program, particularly when we’re over 40 and our bodies do not metabolize as well as they once did. Obesity has long been a problem throughout America and particularly in the KC area, and as much as I do not have an excuse for being overweight, KC does not have an excuse for perpetually ranking high on several men’s health magazines list of America’s Fattest Cities (KC ranked 25th in the 2009 ranking in Men’s Fitness, and No. 1 a few years earlier as named in another ranking). In a bit of a contradiction, KC ranks as the 21st fittest city, as reported by American College of Sports Medicine and FatFighter TV.
The fortunate irony is that the Kansas City area has made some positive strides in recent years to both shed a bit of weight and some of the perception of being ‘Fat City’.
Fitness and Wellness Starts at the Top
But we can do better. This month’s edition of Ingram’s sets the stage for what we hope will materialize as a fitness and wellness movement in the KC area. We’re appealing to CEOs, C-level execs and top management as well as several sponsors to drive this mission. On page 62 of this issue, we profile six individuals and three families who have moved well beyond being fitness enthusiasts in our Fittest Execs feature. On page 71, we announce the Fittest Execs Challenge—a competition among corporate and organization teams as well as individuals to get in shape. With the cost of healthcare continuing to rise and economic incentives emerging for fit individuals and companies, we feel the Fittest Execs Challenge could supplement, or even become, your organization’s fitness and wellness program and we challenge you and your team to participate in this unique com-petition. The Fittest Execs Challenge will reward both fiscally and physically fit individuals and organizations. Read all about it on page 71.
Editor-In-Chief & Publisher