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Without Philadelphia, where the Continental Congress produced the Declaration of Independence in 1776, there might not be a US as we know it. So what is it that characterizes the city heading into the new millennium? According to Men's Fitness magazine, it's ... the flabbiest and least fit in the nation. What's more, Mayor Ed Rendell (D) agrees. The publication bases its rating on analysis of such categories as TV-watching habits, number of workout clubs, and obesity. Philadelphia is the home of Tastykake snacks and cheese steaks, which Rendell had to cut back on while dieting his way to a loss of 30 pounds.

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On the matter of TV-watching, Americans increasingly are turning instead to the Web for entertainment, right? You wouldn't know it judging by data unearthed by the Census Bureau. They show a 9 percent jump in revenue for TV broadcasters between 1997 and last year, or $31 billion. Cable and pay-TV revenues rose 14 percent - to $49 billion.

10 states losing the most open space to development

The loss of open space doubled in the US during the 1990s, a new Agriculture Department inventory of nonfederal land indicates. After collecting data on such factors as land cover, soil erosion, wetlands, and habitat diversity from 800,000 selected locations, researchers determined that nearly 16 million acres of land were developed between 1992 and 1997 - a rate of 3.2 million a year. Between 1982 and 1992, the rate was 1.4 million acres a year. The 10 states losing the most cropland, forests, and other open spaces between 1992 and 1997 (in millions of acres):

1. Texas 1.22

2. Pennsylvania 1.12

3. Georgia 1.05

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4. Florida 0.95

5. North Carolina 0.78

6. California 0.69

7. Tennessee 0.61

8. Michigan 0.55

9. South Carolina 0.54

10. Ohio 0.52

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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