‘American Fitness Index’ lists healthiest, fittest U.S. cities


Related Articles

MinnesotaFor the third year in a row, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area has been ranked No. 1 on the American College of Sports Medicine’s "American Fitness Index." The sixth annual report measures the state of health and fitness in the 50 largest metropolitan areas by evaluating the infrastructure, community assets and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles.

The ACSM encourages fitness professionals to use data from this report to address health inequalities and advance health improvement and quality of life in their own communities.

The ACSM reported that although Indianapolis (No. 45) and Oklahoma City (No. 50) were at the bottom of the rankings, the two cities had positive response efforts to improve health.

The top of the index had more strengths that support healthy living and fewer challenges that hinder it. The opposite is true for cities near the bottom of the index.

So how did the Minneapolis-St. Paul area rank so high? Besides having a lower death rate for coronary heart disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the Twin Cities also have a higher level of state requirement for physical education classes and a higher percent that is bicycling or walking to work and that is at least moderately physically active. It also has more recreation centers, park playgrounds, dog parks and tennis courts per capita.

“We have issued the American Fitness Index each year since 2008 to help health advocates and community leader advocates improve the quality of life in their hometowns,” said Walter Thompson, chair of the AFI advisory board. “As urban areas attract more and more residents, it’s imperative for cities to create a built environment, fund amenities and form policies that get residents active and encourage healthy lifestyles.”

How does your city rank? Here is a list of cities in order of ranking:

1. Minneapolis-St. Paul
2. Washington, D.C.
3. Portland, Ore.
4. San Francisco
5. Denver
6. Boston
7. Sacramento
8. Seattle
9. Hartford, Conn.
10. San Jose
11. Austin
12. Salt Lake City
13. Cincinnati
14. San Diego
15. Raleigh, N.C.
16. Pittsburgh
17. Baltimore
18. Virginia Beach
19. Cleveland
20. Richmond, Va.
21. Atlanta
22. Providence
23. Buffalo
24. New York City
25. Philadelphia
26. Milwaukee
27. Chicago
28. Kansas City, Mo.
29. Los Angeles
30. Columbus, Ohio
31. St. Louis
32. Nashville
33. Phoenix
34. Orlando, Fla.
35. Riverside, Calif.
36. Charlotte, N.C.
37. Jacksonville, Fla.
38. New Orleans
39. Las Vegas
40. Tampa, Fla.
41. Birmingham, Ala.
42. Miami
43. Houston
44. Dallas
45. Indianapolis
46. Memphis
47. Louisville
48. San Antonio
49. Detroit
50. Oklahoma City

According to a press release, in order to assist with measurement and to provide a baseline measure of health and fitness status, the ACSM worked with the Indiana University School of Family Medicine and a panel of 26 health and physical activity experts on the methodology of the AFI data report. Researchers analyzed the data gleaned from U.S. Census data, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the Trust for the Public Land City Park Facts and other existing research data in order to give a scientific, accurate snapshot of the health and fitness status at a metropolitan level

Click here to download the full report.