American Fitness Index Releases New Community Action Guide


For immediate release: January 20, 2016

American Fitness Index Releases New Community Action Guide

Updated tool helps leaders take action to improve the health of their communities

INDIANAPOLIS- The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) American Fitness Index released a new Community Action Guide today, offering communities a resource to help leaders realize local health and fitness goals. The guide, which will replace an earlier edition published in 2009, is a companion document to the annual Data Report, which reports the fittest city in America each year based on a score derived from a comprehensive list of health indicators ranking the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the U.S.

“The goal of is not only to name a fittest city each year, but to identify potential areas that cities might focus efforts to improve the health and lifestyles of residents,” said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, associate dean in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta and chair of the Advisory Board. “The Community Action Guide provides practical tools, examples and resources for creating effective change at the local level that can help cities offer healthier places to live.”

Funded by the Anthem Foundation, this Community Action Guide has been developed to support efforts to address community challenges and to encourage communities and neighborhoods of all sizes to focus efforts to help improve the health of their residents. In the guide, local leaders will find information about coalition building and putting community goals into practice. The guide details strategies for effective planning, leadership, monitoring and evaluation of group efforts. The guide incorporates expertise from local leaders with experience in affecting community change, health and fitness experts and the Advisory Board.

“As we begin a new year, the  Community Action Guide comes at a pivotal time for cities looking to shape a healthier future for their residents,” said Craig Samitt, MD, MBA, chief clinical officer for Anthem, Inc. “We’re happy to provide local communities with actionable resources that are vital to help incentivize, motivate and energize individuals and families to unlock the potential for a healthier lifestyle.”

Other resources available from include the 2015 report and infographic, five-year trend reports and a community application tool for communities not included in the 50 largest MSA ranking.



Paul Branks, 317-352-3827,



About the American College of Sports Medicine

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

About Anthem Foundation

The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit and its blog at

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