The American College of Sports Medicine’s annual fitness index was released recently and since I found the results on America’s Fittest and Most Sluggish Cities very interesting, I thought I would share them with my kindred Valley Girl readers!
Before I disclose the results, I must warn you that the index doesn’t just look at body weight to decipher which cities are fit and which are not. There are 30 fitness indicators that contribute to the final results and include: obesity and exercise rates, death rate from cardiovascular disease, acres of park land, number of primary care physicians per capita, percentage of residents who bicycle or walk to work, and more.
The index compares to 50 largest metropolitan areas on a 100-point scale.
And now for the results! Today I will reveal “America’s 10 Fittest Cities.” But stay tuned for “America’s 10 Most Sluggish Cities” tommorow! Oh, and be sure to check out how Phoenix ranks on the list at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!
America’s 10 Fittest Cities:
1. Washington, D.C.
Obesity Rate: 22.6%
Exercise Rate: 80.1%
It looks like the cold weather back east doesn’t deter civilians from getting out and enjoying some quality exercise. Washington D.C. has the highest score as it received great marks on almost every category.
2. Boston, Mass.
Obesity Rate: 19.9%
Exercise Rate: 78.6%
“Boston’s relatively affluent population avoids cigarettes and stays trim. The state also mandates that all its residents have health insurance,” according to Forbes.
3. Minneapolis, Minn.
Obesity Rate: 23.9%
Exercise Rate: 84.3%
Although Minneapolis’ obesity rate is a bit higher, the also high exercise rate brings this Minnesota metropolitan to the top of our list!
4. Seattle, Wash.
Obesity Rate: 22.8%
Exercise Rate: 81.9%
Another cold city is yet again surprisingly active! “Seattle scores high by providing physical education classes for kids and tennis courts for adults,” according to Forbes.
5. Portland, Ore.
Obesity Rate: 23.8%
Exercise Rate: 82.3%
Portland’s many dog parks, doctor’s offices and “no smoking” signs bring it to the top 5 most fit, according to Forbes.
6. Denver, Colo.
Obesity Rate: 19.3%
Exercise Rate: 83%
“The Mile High City has low rates of disability and heart disease,” according to Forbes.
7. Sacramento, Calif.
Obesity Rate: 21.4%
Exercise Rate: 82.3%
What makes this capital city so fit? A high percentage of residents say they walk or bike to work.
8. San Francisco, Calif.
Obesity Rate: 18.4%
Exercise Rate: 81.5%
“Low poverty rates” seems to be the contributing factor as to why San Francisco has low rates of diabetes, smoking and obesity. But if you have ever visited the city by the bay, you will notice that people are extremely active and in-shape!
9. Hartford, Conn.
Obesity Rate: 21.1%
Exercise Rate: 77.2%
“Hartford denizens enjoy a disproportionate number of farmers’ markets, baseball diamonds and golf courses – and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
10. Austin, Texas
Obesity Rate: 22.5%
Exercise Rate: 78.4%
The number of parks and pools per capita, along with low rates of asthma and heart disease are what makes this city barely make the top 10.
And as for our desert city of Phoenix, we rank low on the top 50 fittest city and come in at #32.
#32: Phoenix, Ariz.
The index shows that Phoenix is low due to the low percentage of people using public transportation, walking or biking to work, high percentage of people with asthma, few percentage of parks per capita, lower level of state requirement for Physical Education classes and primary health care providers per capita. However, the Valley’s strengths are that we have a higher percentage eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, lower death rate for diabetes, lower percent of smokers, and low death rate for cardiovascular disease.