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Is Chicago Fatter Than New York, As Dick Wolf Says? The Truth Hurts

By Joe Ward | September 1, 2016 12:20pm | Updated on September 1, 2016 12:41pm
 Is New York thinner than Chicago?
Is New York thinner than Chicago?
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THE LOOP — Dick Wolf — the producer of the "Law & Order" franchise, "Chicago Fire" and its many spin-offs — gave a frank answer this week about how Chicago and New York differ.

It didn't go over well.

Chicago "is a cleaner, politer New York with slightly heavier people," Wolf said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The line got a round of laughs, even from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a trim man who certainly doesn't fit Wolf's characterization of Chicago. Despite his chuckle, Emanuel did give Wolf the "knock-it-off-now" gesture.

Joe Ward looked at some data to find out if Chicagoans really are "slightly heavier."

But is it true? Are Chicagoans a beefier bunch?

Well, yes.

Data shows that Chicago — and certainly Illinois — have higher rates of obesity than New York City and New York state.

About 30.8 percent of Illinois' population qualifies as obese, while 25 percent of New York's adult population is considered obese, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Gallup's Well-Being study, Chicago has an obesity rate of 25.6 percent, while New York City's is 22.9 percent.

However, the study has Chicago and New York City tied for "overall well-being," with Chicago at 66.8 and New York clocking in at 66 percent.

That same study found that Chicagoans actually get more exercise than their peers in New York, with 50.6 percent getting regular exercise in Chicago compared to 47.8 percent in New York.

So, Chicago is more obese, yet its population gets more exercise and is generally more healthy than New York City.

How can that be?

Maybe it's because Chicago is known for its encased meats, extremely indulgent pizza and other not-so-good-for-you delicacies. Whereas New Yorkers eat thin, flimsy pizza.

According to Gallup, our diets might in fact be the culprit. We eat fewer vegetables than folks in New York City, according to the study. Only 55 percent of Chicago adults eat vegetables regularly, compared to 57 percent in New York.

So, Wolf's take on Chicago's portly nature is correct.

But if he knows that, then why do the actors in his "Chicago" series look like they're weeks into a juice cleanse?

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