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Only 22 percent of Americans meet aerobic and strength activity levels
Arlington, Va., edged out Minneapolis, Minn., for the coveted “most fit city in America” title by only half a point in the annual ACSM American Fitness Index Ranking (Fitness Index). Arlington’s neighbor, Washington, D.C., came in third, 3.7 points behind.
The 11th annual Fitness Index was released today by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. For the first time, the ACSM Fitness Index evaluated America’s 100 largest cities using 33 health behaviors, chronic diseases and community infrastructure indicators. Previously, the Fitness Index measured evidence-based indicators for the 50 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA).
In 2017, the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA won the crown. With the twin cities split, St. Paul now ranks #8 in the 2018 Fitness Index. Madison, Wis., Portland, Ore., Seattle, Wash., and Denver, Colo. finished fourth through seventh, respectively, in the 2018 Fitness Index ranking.
Arlington residents were found to have the lowest smoking rate and highest reports of very good or excellent health compared to the other 99 communities in the Fitness Index. The suburban Virginia community’s balance of both healthy behaviors and community infrastructure earned it the #1 rank with a score of 77.7. While Arlington ranked #4 in personal health and #5 in community indicators, the balance of its combined scores was enough to edge #2-ranked Minneapolis’ overall score of 77.2. (The ACSM American Fitness Index is available in its entirety at www.americanfitnessindex.org. Visit the website to compare city rankings, download resources and request assistance for your city).
“Obesity rates have climbed to 40 percent and related medical costs are exceeding $147 billion yearly,” said Barbara Ainsworth, Ph.D., chair of the American Fitness Index Board and a Regents’ professor in the Exercise Science and Health Promotion Program in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University. “Along with dietary changes, exercise is one of the best ways people can turn this around; unfortunately, only 22 percent of Americans are meeting national physical activity guidelines. Through the expanded Fitness Index rankings, more citizens and government leaders will be informed and motivated in developing strategies to improve health and fitness opportunities and modify the infrastructures to support them.”
“We are pleased to see the results of cities that are incorporating healthier strategies into their planning to improve the walkability and bikeabilty of their communities, which helps improve physical activity of their residents,” said Craig Samitt, M.D., chief clinical officer at Anthem. “By creating greater access to public health research, including the Fitness Index rankings we are proud to sponsor, we know we are fostering a culture of physical activity to improve health and fitness, prevent disease and disability, and enhance the quality life for all Americans.”
Overall findings from the 2018 Fitness Index rankings included:
At the community level, the Fitness Index has been used as an assessment and evaluation tool to educate community leaders on the importance of key indicators of physical activity. Leaders can then focus on policy, systems and environmental change strategies that are evidence-based and create sustainability for their community.
The 2018 ACSM American Fitness Index rankings are as follows:
|Overall Rank||Overall Score|
|St. Paul, MN||8||70.2|
|San Jose, CA||9||69.8|
|San Francisco, CA||14||67.3|
|San Diego, CA||16||66.4|
|St. Petersburg, FL||23||60.4|
|Colorado Springs, CO||24||58.1|
|Virginia Beach, VA||30||56.9|
|Chula Vista, CA||35||55.3|
|Long Beach, CA||39||54.8|
|Santa Ana, CA||40||53.7|
|New Orleans, LA||45||51.8|
|Los Angeles, CA||50||48.9|
|New York, NY||52||48.6|
|Fort Worth, TX||56||47.6|
|St. Louis, MO||57||47.4|
|Las Vegas, NV||63||45.1|
|Baton Rouge, LA||67||43.4|
|San Antonio, TX||68||43.4|
|Jersey City, NJ||69||43.2|
|Kansas City, MO||74||41.5|
|Corpus Christi, TX||77||40.6|
|El Paso, TX||79.5||40.3|
|Fort Wayne, IN||84||39.2|
|North Las Vegas, NV||92||34.0|
|Oklahoma City, OK||100||26.3|
Scores have been rounded to the nearest tenth of a point, resulting in some apparent ties; however, the rankings are based on the full calculated score value that were not equal in those cases. To view the full ACSM Fitness Index, methodology and the many resources available to cities, visit www.americanfitnessindex.com.
Mike Fulton, 301-651-2508
American College of Sports Medicine
Paul Branks, 317-637-9200
Leslie Porras, 202-508-7891
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