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Southern cities ranked among laziest in U.S.: magazine

By Andrea Burzynski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, is also the capital of sloth, according to Men's Health magazine which ranked the Southern metropolis as the least active city in the United States.

It was last on the list of 100 cities based on the activity level of its residents, along with Charleston, West Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; Birmingham, Alabama; and Lexington, Kentucky, which rounded out the bottom five.

"The South certainly has a cultural reputation for taking it easy and being laid-back," said Matt Marion, the executive editor of the magazine, adding that the region's heat and humidity are also a "built-in obstacle to exercise."

Portland, Oregon was designated the most active city, followed by Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Many of the most active cities in the ranking were places where outdoor sports such as skiing and mountain biking are popular, according to Marion.

No cities in the Northeast were included among the top ten most active or least active cities.

To compile the ranking the magazine studied local habits and culture, the amount of exercise residents did at home and in health clubs and television viewing. It also looked at city initiatives to encourage exercise and how inactive residents were in the past month.

The rankings were based on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, data mapping provider Geographic Research, Inc, and media and consumer research firm GfK MRI.

The magazine also included deep-vein thrombosis death rates, money spent on video-game hardware and software and the popularity of video games.

(Reporting by Andrea Burzynski; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Jackie Frank)

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