This week’s chart, which actually is from 18 months ago but is sort of amazing so who cares, lists cities with exceptionally high and low percentages of respondents who say they want to see more “healthy” items on restaurant menus. We all have our stereotypes about cities - let’s put them to work!
On first inspection, one might assume that cities in the “highest” column are full of health nuts, and cities in the “lowest” column are full of lazy, self-defeating fatasses. That assumption certainly explains Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and possibly Boston with its college crowd. Not to mention Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore and Houston!
But what are Atlanta and Columbus doing on the left side and Seattle and Denver on the right? The placements seem counterintuitive, but there are plausible explanations for all. Columbus and Atlanta, despite being fat cities, are fast-growing, dynamic, and full of aspiration. For example, Columbus wants to, one day, not require the apposition of comma Ohio. Atlanta wants to be the capital of South, which it sort of already is, but more formally. These places want to better themselves, and by extension, their citizens want to better their health.
To explain Seattle and Denver, one only need walk down their imaginary main streets - every other store sells granola, caribiners, pilates on tap, organic local celery, and water. These people are healthy by nature, but are so sick of being inundated with positive energy that maybe, once in a while, they could use a donut. So of course they don’t want more healthy food on the menu - it would just be redundant.
Chicago mercifully escapes analysis through overgeneralization by not being on either list. Small favors!
(All of this obscures the real issue - that more “healthy” food on menus isn’t going to do squat if people don’t choose those menu items/can’t afford them, or eat three times as much as they should, or don’t exercise. But that’s well outside the scope of this chart.)
[Chart: Nation’s Restaurant News]