Where does your city fall on the list? (Photo: Getty Images)
The annual report is in, listing the fittest — and most sedentary — cities in America. For the second year in a row, Washington, D.C., tops the list of the fittest U.S. cities, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, Sacramento, and San Francisco, although Americans are exercising less overall. Indianapolis sank to the bottom of the list as the least active city in the country, followed by Memphis and Oklahoma City, according to the eighth annual American Fitness Index from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation.
The cities were judged according to such indicators as the variety of outdoor activity options and rates of smoking, obesity and diabetes. "The AFI is two things: a measure of how healthy a metro area is today, and a call-to-action for urban and suburban leaders to design infrastructures that promote active lifestyles and lead to positive health outcomes,“ said Walter Thompson, chair of the AFI Advisory Board.
The study uses a composite score to measure the health of each metropolitan area. Access to public parks was added as a measure in 2015.
The Washington metropolitan area topped the list for the second year in a row with a score of 79.6 out of 100 possible points, a two-point improvement over 2014. The report showed an 11 percent drop in the last year in the number of Americans who exercised in the last 30 days, and a 7.8 percent increase in diabetes death rates. There was a 5.5 percent drop in those who eat enough fruit each day.
The rankings highlight natural imbalances that make some cities more likely to be fit than others. "One of the issues with the index is it compares some places like Indianapolis with some places like Denver,” advisory board member NiCole Keith told USA Today. “We just don’t have that level of green space. We’re not going to get mountains and we’re not going to get oceans.” Other issues standing in the way of better health include a lack of education and access to better foods and healthcare.
On the plus side, respondents who reported they had been diagnosed with angina or coronary heart disease decreased by 9.5 percent. The survey also found a 5.5 percent increase in the number of park units from 2014 to 2015.
The Top 10 Cities
1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
2. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
3. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
4. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
5. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA
6. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
7. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
9. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
10. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
The Bottom 10 Cities
41. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
42. New Orleans-Metairie, LA
43. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC
44. Birmingham-Hoover, AL
45. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN
46. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
47. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
48. Oklahoma City, OK
49. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
50. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN
Additional reporting from Reuters.
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