The Fat City
Prepare for Part 7 of the Reading and Use of English paper in the B2 First Exam by reading the text below and answering ten questions.
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The Fat City
Oklahoma is a city that covers six hundred and twenty square miles, but has a population of just over half a million. This means that the residents are all spread out across the city making it nearly impossible to go about your daily life without using a car. As a result, people tend to do very little exercise, which has contributed to Oklahoma being known as one of the fattest cities in the United States. Velveth Monterroso was a victim of the city’s reputation after she arrived from her hometown of Guatemala. She initially weighed a healthy sixty three kilograms, but after ten years her weight went up by over thirty kilograms.
Velveth noticed the difference from her hometown of Guatemala immediately. She commented that in Guatemala people would usually eat a diet consisting mainly of vegetables as meat was so expensive. In Oklahoma, however, it was much more common to eat fast food on a daily basis. She soon found herself eating the typical diet of the city at the time. She worked long hours, starting at eight in the morning and not finishing until eleven at night. This made it difficult for her to find the time or energy to prepare healthy meals. Working all day as a cook, she found herself constantly snacking on burgers, chips and pizza throughout the day and would usually get a takeaway on the way home after a long day at work.
Even after stopping work to look after her second child, she was still addicted to the junk food that had caused her health to decline. She was finding it difficult to make any meaningful changes. By now, the city knew that there was a serious problem going on, and decided to declare a war on fat which was started by the Mayor, Mick Cornett. He found out that his own weight increase had made him clinically obese just as his hometown was identified by a magazine as one of America’s most overweight cities. One of the changes made in the war on fat was a special programme to reduce obesity that was offered to people who were overweight. It was thanks to this programme that Velveth managed to change her life. Now she eats fast food just once a week, cooks more vegetables, has smaller portions and exercises daily by walking up and down stairs for twenty minutes. Although she is still overweight, in just four months she has lost nearly ten of the kilograms gained since moving to Oklahoma.
All her friends were impressed not only with the weight loss but also with the amount of energy she now has. Velveth wasn’t the only one who benefited from the city’s remarkable attempt to tackle obesity. Many more have taken advantage of new plans implemented by the city including the creation of parks, bike lanes, gyms and various walking trails across the city. Overweight people throughout the city are being targeted at home and at work to change their lifestyles. Rather than making residents change their habits by banning sugary snacks and drinks, the campaign is focused on educating people so they can make the choice to change. This approach appears to result in more people maintaining a healthy lifestyle instead of just losing a few pounds and then going back to old habits.