Rahm Emanuel

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be taking the big apple’s obesity epidemic seriously with a recent citywide ban on large-sized sugary sodas and soft drinks, but Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel has taken it a step further, urging his city’s residents to consider adopting a vegan diet to improve their health.

Considered the nation’s most “fit” mayor, Emanuel, the former Obama administration chief of staff, appeared on a Chicago local TV affiliate WGN-TV last week with the plea for his city residents to get healthier by eliminating or reducing animal products from their diets.

The Midwest hub is no stranger to cloying and stick-to-your-ribs comfort foods loaded with saturated fats, excessive sodium and sugar and often lacking in fiber and nutrients needed for optimal health. These types of foods are the leading causes in the nation’s rising illness rates related to weight issues, which are currently affecting two-thirds of Americans. Illinois’ obesity rate is currently 27.7 percent—23rd highest in the nation.

Emanuel endorsed the Engine 2 Diet, invented by former triathlete Rip Esselstyn, which focuses on a “plant-strong” diet for improved health, energy and weight management. During the segment, Emanuel urged his city to “do a better job at how we eat and control our weight, which deals with both healthcare costs, as well as life expectancy.”

Emanuel isn’t the only politician to embrace veganism. Former President Bill Clinton, who, during his time in office, was known for his love of greasy fast foods, recently adopted a vegan diet to deal with specific health issues.

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Image: danxonell