It can seem like beating a (fat) dead horse to constantly report on surveys that detail how fat we all are. But every time one of these surveys come out, and they come out with alarming regularity, Tennessee is right there in the top 10.

The latest survey from our buddies at WalletHub looked at the 100 fattest cities in the country and the four main cities in Tennessee — Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville and Chattanooga — all made the top 20. Knoxville crept into the top 10 at number seven.

You have the usual suspects when it comes to the reasons why. Too much grease, too much fast food, not enough exercise, a sedentary lifestyle that seems to be unique to the south. Not to mention the misfortune of being born into a fat family. Some things you can’t escape.

Some place called McAllen-Edinburg Mission, Texas, was the fattest city, followed by Shreveport-Bossier City, La., and Memphis making us all proud at number three. Jackson, Miss., was fourth, Tulsa, Okla., was sixth, the previously mentioned Knoxville at 7, Toledo, Ohio, came in at eighth, Baton Rouge, La., at ninth and Augusta-Richmond County, Ga., which crosses over into South Carolina, at number 10.

Chattanooga was number 16 and Nashville was 18th.

You may have noticed that, with the exception of Toledo and Tulsa, all the cities in the top 10 reside in the South. If you look at the entire list, you’ll see southern cities everywhere. Texas has an astounding amount of entries.

When it comes to the biggest number of people who aren’t wheezing after climbing a couple of steps, you’ll have to look west and to the northern Midwest.

When you break it down some, Memphis is fifth with the most obese adults while Chattanooga is tied for third with the least amount of physically active people.

Believe it or not, when you break the numbers down into top fives, those are the only times Tennessee cities show up. So, no idea how our cities rank in terms of blood pressure and or how much fruit and vegetables we consume.

Despite all this extra weight we’re carrying around, we are living longer than ever even though life expectancy has dipped a little. They have found ways to keep us alive no matter what we do to our bodies. I was in a hospital one time and saw an enormously obese person (I have no idea if it was a man or woman) holding a gigantic bag of pills. The bag must’ve had 50 pill bottles in it.

Now, I don’t know if that person had to take that many pills every day or if that was just all the medication they’d taken over the course of a lifetime and was meeting a new doctor who needed to know.

But whatever the case, at what point does it simply not become worth it? If you’re getting on up there, say into your 70s, wouldn’t you rather just drop all the medication and see what happens? You might die the next day or you might live a few more years without having to put all those chemicals into your body.

I take three pills on a daily basis, two of which I wouldn’t need if I just ate a better diet, but I sometimes feel like that’s too many. Better living through chemicals as the old saying goes.

Anyway, it’s estimated that treating obesity and its related problems cost between $147 billion and $210 billion a year and that $4.3 billion worth of work is lost because, I don’t know, you’re too fat to get out of bed on certain days.

The real question is how many surveys do we need to get healthy? I’ve based approximately 840 columns on them in the past couple of years, but I’m always happy to find a quick and easy column to bang out, so they can keep them coming as far as I’m concerned.

As is usually the case, if you want to read the survey yourself, you can check out WalletHub’s website at

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