Category: Program News

2018 American Fitness Index Overview Infographic

According to the 2018 ACSM American Fitness Index, the top 10 fittest cities in the U.S. are:

  1. Arlington, VA
  2. Minneapolis, MN
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Madison, WI
  5. Portland, OR
  6. Seattle, WA
  7. Denver, CO
  8. St. Paul, MN
  9. San Jose, CA
  10. Boise, ID

Share this infographic and the Fitness Index with your city officials and local leaders to start a conversation on making your city a healthier place for all residents.

Download a PDF of the Infographic here.

We’re Expanding! Fitness Index will now rank America’s 100 largest cities

The American Fitness Index is proud to announce that the 2018 rankings will be released on May 15th! This year’s rankings feature some exciting changes. 

We’re expanding!

For the first ten years of the Fitness Index, the rankings evaluated the 50 largest metro areas. This approach provided important and valuable general messages, but limited the ability to provide targeted assistance to city and community leaders that need specific data at the local level.

With the May 15th release of the 2018 rankings, the Fitness Index will expand to the 100 largest cities in the U.S. This approach distinguishes the largest suburbs from the central cities in the same metro areas. Cities like Plano, TX will now be scored and ranked separately from their Dallas-Fort Worth metro neighbors. The expanded rankings also provide a more inclusive approach by adding cities in states that weren’t represented previously. Welcome to the Fitness Index, Boise, ID!

Despite the shift from metro areas to cities, the methodology and data sources for the Fitness Index remains the same. Learn more about the science behind the Fitness Index here

New tools coming soon

Who doesn’t like fancy new tools? With this year’s rankings release the Fitness Index will also release an interactive city comparison feature. This will allow you to explore differences between cities by comparing to the top ranked city and up to three additional cities. How does NYC compare to LA or Chicago? Does Kansas City, MO rank higher than St. Louis, MO? Which Twin City ranks highest and why? Get curious and let your inner data scientist go to work. 

Reimagined reporting

Using top 10 lists, modern data visualizations, and inspiring stories from cities working to improve, the rankings report provides new insights and summarizes key information across all 100 cities.

All of these changes allow ACSM to provide better, local data to city leaders and targeted assistance to communities that are ready to make healthy changes.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share how you’ll use the 2018 Fitness Index rankings to make your community healthier and more active using #100fitcities.

100 Largest U.S. Cities

Anchorage

AK

Kansas City

MO

Chandler

AZ

St. Louis

MO

Gilbert

AZ

Charlotte

NC

Glendale

AZ

Durham

NC

Mesa

AZ

Greensboro

NC

Phoenix

AZ

Raleigh

NC

Scottsdale

AZ

Winston-Salem

NC

Tucson

AZ

Lincoln

NE

Anaheim

CA

Omaha

NE

Bakersfield

CA

Jersey City

NJ

Chula Vista

CA

Newark

NJ

Fremont

CA

Albuquerque

NM

Fresno

CA

Henderson

NV

Irvine

CA

Las Vegas

NV

Long Beach

CA

North Las Vegas

NV

Los Angeles

CA

Reno

NV

Oakland

CA

Buffalo

NY

Riverside

CA

New York

NY

Sacramento

CA

Cincinnati

OH

San Diego

CA

Cleveland

OH

San Francisco

CA

Columbus

OH

San Jose

CA

Toledo

OH

Santa Ana

CA

Oklahoma City

OK

Stockton

CA

Tulsa

OK

Aurora

CO

Portland

OR

Colorado Springs

CO

Philadelphia

PA

Denver

CO

Pittsburgh

PA

Washington

D.C.

Memphis

TN

Hialeah

FL

Nashville

TN

Jacksonville

FL

Arlington

TX

Miami

FL

Austin

TX

Orlando

FL

Corpus Christi

TX

St. Petersburg

FL

Dallas

TX

Tampa

FL

El Paso

TX

Atlanta

GA

Fort Worth

TX

Honolulu

HI

Garland

TX

Boise

ID

Houston

TX

Chicago

IL

Irving

TX

Fort Wayne

IN

Laredo

TX

Indianapolis

IN

Lubbock

TX

Wichita

KS

Plano

TX

Lexington

KY

San Antonio

TX

Louisville

KY

Arlington

VA

Baton Rouge

LA

Chesapeake

VA

New Orleans

LA

Norfolk

VA

Boston

MA

Richmond

VA

Baltimore

MD

Virginia Beach

VA

Detroit

MI

Seattle

WA

Minneapolis

MN

Madison

WI

St. Paul

MN

Milwaukee

WI

Fruit and Vegetables Fuel Good Health

 

You were always told you to eat fruit and vegetables – and it turns out that was very smart advice! It has been well established that diet and physical fitness are strongly linked. However, high levels of physical activity can’t make up for a poor diet, any more than healthy eating can remove the need for physical activity. In fact, researchers have consistently reported that exercise alone is not likely to effectively reduce weight – a change in eating patterns is required.

Unhealthy eating is a known risk factor for many leading causes of disease, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers. The ACSM American Fitness Index (Fitness Index) includes the percent of residents who report eating the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables as two measures of a healthy diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depending on a person’s age and sex, federal guidelines recommend that adults eat at least one and a half to two cups per day of fruit, and two to three cups per day of vegetables as part of a healthy eating pattern. A good diet provides the needed nutrients for strong bones and muscles that enable us to be physically active. For good health and to support fitness, focusing on improving access to and consumption of fruits and vegetables would be a great strategy for communities across the country.

How many fruits and vegetables are people in your city eating? Find out with the 2017 Fitness Index rankings. Check back in May for the 2018 Fitness Index rankings!

Authors

Terrell W. Zollinger, Dr.P.H, MSPH

Stella L. Volpe, Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D.N., ACSM-CEP, FACSM

Washington DC is the Nation’s Fittest City, report says

For Immediate Release: May 19, 2015 at 12:01 am

 

Washington DC is the Nation’s Fittest City, report says
Exercise decrease, chronic disease increase highlight challenges in ACSM American Fitness Index

 

Indianapolis – Residents of the nation’s capital, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul, and San Diego, enjoy a variety of outdoor exercise options, and have relatively low rates of smoking, obesity and diabetes. That combination of measurable health and community indicators makes them the three fittest of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Oklahoma City, Memphis and Indianapolis rank last among the 50 metro areas studied in the eighth annual American Fitness Index® ranking being released today by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation. View the rankings and individual metro data here or in the chart below.

There’s good news and areas of concern from the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. The AFI reveals a troubling 11.3 percent drop in the percentage of individuals who exercised in the last 30 days, and a 7.8 percent increase in the diabetes death rates from 2014 to 2015. The ranking also notes a 5.5 percent drop in those who eat enough fruit each day. Five metro areas dropped significantly in the rankings, falling five or more positions.

On the more positive side, there was also a 9.5 percent decrease in the percentage of respondents who reported that they had been diagnosed with angina or coronary heart disease, and a 5.5 percent increase in the number of park units from 2014 to 2015. Nine metro areas improved their ranking by five or more positions.

With funding from The Anthem Foundation, ACSM studies Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) using a composite score to measure the health of each MSA. Access to public parks was added as a new measure in 2015, and the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area topped the list for the second consecutive year with a score of 79.6 out of 100 possible points, a two-point improvement over 2014.

“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,” says Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, chair of the Advisory Board. “Our goal is to provide communities and residents with resources that help them assess, respond and achieve a better, healthier life.”

“We have proudly sponsored the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) American Fitness Index® for the past eight years and have witnessed the growing impact this report can have on the health and well-being of communities,”  said Sam Nussbaum, MD, chief medical officer for Anthem, Inc.  “Across the United States, government, business and organizations have proven that by working together we can improve the health of our cities. These coalitions are using the actionable data from this report to drive health improvement. It is heartening to see a city’s health improve, and this year there were some remarkable shifts in rankings. Opportunities remain and measurement, shared learning and commitment to healthier lifestyles will benefit individuals, our cities and our nation.”

Last year, ACSM also released its first series of data trend reports recapping and documenting progress during a five-year period for each metro area. You can learn more about community health data trends in a given area by going here.

Because physical inactivity has become an epidemic in the U.S., ACSM encourages Americans to exercise for at least 30 minutes and participate in 10 minutes of stretching and light muscle training five days a week. Modeling healthy behavior by reducing sedentary time, incorporating activity into the weekday schedule, joining walking clubs, setting goals and involving family and friends can improve fitness, reduce the risk of chronic disease and enhance quality of life.

At the community level, the data report can be 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 (PSE) strategies that are evidence-based and create sustainability for the community.

ACSM is a global leader in promoting the benefits of physical activity and advocates for legislation that helps government and the health community make it a priority. ACSM encourages Congress to support continued funding of parks, trails and safe routes to school, as well as the need for all Americans to meet the prescribed physical activity recommendations included in the National Physical Activity Guidelines, and the need for the guidelines to be regularly updated every 10 years.

 

The metropolitan rankings in the 2015 data report are:

RankMetropolitan AreaScore
1Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV79.6
2Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI75.6*
3San Diego-Carlsbad, CA75.6*
4San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA72.6
5Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA71.4
6Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO71.1
7Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA69.6
8Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA68.5
9Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH68.1
10San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA65.9
11Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT64.8
12Salt Lake City, UT61.9
13Raleigh, NC60.1
14Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA57.5*
15Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC57.5*
16Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN56.4
17Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI56.3
18Richmond, VA55.0
19Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD54.5
20Austin-Round Rock, TX54.2
21Pittsburgh, PA53.0
22Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD52.5
23Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA52.0
24New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA50.9
25Cleveland-Elyria, OH50.5*
26Kansas City, MO-KS50.5*
27Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL50.2
28Providence-Warwick, RI-MA49.4
29Saint Louis, MO-IL48.1
30Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL47.5
31Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV47.4
32Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY47.3
33Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI46.8
34Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA44.8
35Jacksonville, FL43.5
36Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL42.7
37Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ41.1
38Columbus, OH41.0
39Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX39.8
40Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI39.0
41Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX38.8
42New Orleans-Metairie, LA38.6
43Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC37.4
44Birmingham-Hoover, AL34.5
45Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN33.0
46Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN32.1
47San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX32.0
48Oklahoma City, OK29.6
49Memphis, TN-MS-AR27.3
50Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN26.8

 

*The scores shown 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 values that were not equal in those cases.

 

Methodology
ACSM, the Indiana University School of Family Medicine and a panel of 26 health and physical activity experts developed the methodology to analyze U.S. Census data, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 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.

The data is made up of personal health, and community and environmental indicators. Visit the online newsroom at www.AmericanFitnessIndex.org for a complete list of the data components.

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 http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at http://anthemfoundation.tumblr.com.

For more information, contact:

Annie Spencer at (317) 637-9200 or aspencer@acsm.org (American College of Sports Medicine)
Aaron Cohen at (301) 633-6773 or aaroncohenpr@gmail.com (Asher Agency)
Leslie Porras at (818) 234-3368 or Leslie.Porras@anthem.com (Anthem Foundation)

Hialeah to Benefit from Amerigroup Grant Aimed at Improving Health, Fitness

The Amerigroup Foundation today announced that it is providing a grant to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to continue efforts to improve health and fitness outcomes in Hialeah, Fla., Florida’s sixth-largest city. The grant will help ACSM expand its American Fitness Index® () technical assistance program that was created with the Hialeah Healthy Families Coalition (HHF) in 2010. This grant helped launch a city-wide initiative to educate both children and families on nutrition, healthy food choices, and fitness activities. Amerigroup’s parent foundation also granted an additional $157,782 to ACSM in 2013 to create a data report and continue working with Hialeah communities to initiate locally driven health improvement efforts. The most current grant provided by Amerigroup will help fund ongoing health initiatives of 21 local area organizations.

“We are proud to invest in the Hialeah community as part of our continuing commitment to addressing health disparities and improving public health across Florida,” said Rosy Cozad, president and CEO of Amerigroup Florida. “Amerigroup’s support and expansion of ACSM’s technical assistance program will continue to identify actionable areas for improving health and fitness at the community level, and is expected to make a significant community-wide impact on health outcomes.

Priority areas identified by the technical assistance program include:

  • Strengthening HHF to expand the dissemination of programmatic activities and positive community-based messages;
  • Increasing healthy eating practices of residents;
  • Increasing physical activity levels of residents;
  • Improving access to affordable, quality health care for Hialeah residents.

“The combination of this strategic plan and a focus on this diverse, but unified, community will push Hialeah to improved health, fitness and subsequent quality of life benefits,” said Walter Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, chair of the Advisory Board. “Our wish is for the entire metro area to take notice of Hialeah’s example.”

The technical assistance program is based on findings from an annual data report, which provides a health status snapshot of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Since the first data report in 2008, the entire Miami metro area, which includes Hialeah, has consistently ranked in the bottom half of the rankings. Notably, trend data reveals that the percentage of physically active Hialeah residents has decreased by 16.5 percent from 2009 to 2013.

With the additional funds from Amerigroup, HHF will continue efforts to introduce opportunities for more community organizations to collaboratively increase health and fitness among Hialeah residents. For more information on HHF, visit http://district4.dadeschools.net/safety/pdfs/healthy_families_brochure.pdf.

About The Amerigroup Foundation

The Amerigroup Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. Together, with local, regional and national organizations, the Amerigroup Foundation works to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Amerigroup and its affiliated health plans serve. Amerigroup Foundation funding is focused on strategic initiatives working to address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative with five areas of focus: Healthy Heart, Cancer Prevention, Healthy Maternal Practices, Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, and Healthy Active Lifestyle. 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’ campaign pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Amerigroup Foundation, please visit www.anthem.foundation.

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 The Hialeah Healthy Families Coalition

Hialeah Healthy Families is a community-wide initiative that seeks to change organizational practices, mobilize neighborhoods and communities, and influence policy to address the causes of childhood obesity. The City of Hialeah, along with a coalition of community partners developed a Call to Action Against Childhood Obesity targeting obesity from the following perspectives: Health, Nutrition & Fitness, Early Childhood & Education, Marketing & Outreach, and Data & Evaluation.

Strategic Plan Aims to Guide Cincinnati to Better Health, Fitness

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), with support from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, is expanding the ACSM American Fitness Index® () Technical Assistance Program to Cincinnati. Working with the Cincinnati Health Department’s Creating Healthy Communities Coalition (CHCC), ACSM unveiled a comprehensive strategic plan today that will guide the Cincinnati metro area toward improved health and fitness outcomes.

The technical assistance program is based on findings from the annual data report, which provides a health status snapshot of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

“Since the first data report in 2008, Cincinnati has consistently scored well for community resources and policies that support physical activity,” said Walt Thompson, PhD, FACSM. “Just as consistently, however, area residents rank poorly on preventive health behaviors and prevalence of chronic disease conditions.”

This year, Cincinnati ranked 18th overall and third in community/environmental indicators, but ranked only 41st in personal health indicators. This dichotomy prompted the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to invest in Cincinnati. In 2013, ACSM received a $157,782 grant from Anthem’s parent company foundation to use this year’s data report and work with community organizations in Cincinnati and other markets to initiate locally driven health improvement efforts.

To create the strategic plan, ACSM worked with CHCC and a community leadership team to conduct a root cause analysis and community survey to identify areas within Cincinnati that have the greatest need for improvement. The priority areas identified are:

  • Percentage of population eating healthy food is too low;
  • Percentage of population being physically active is too low;
  • Percentage of population with chronic disease is too high and percentage of population managing their chronic conditions is too low;
  • Percentage of population using tobacco is too high.

“There is a strong commitment to make the City of Cincinnati a place where each and every resident can achieve their optimal state of health and well-being,” said Denisha Porter, director of health promotion and worksite wellness for the Cincinnati Health Department. “Change will occur through a multi-sector approach in which all stakeholders are engaged, empowered, and encouraged to build a culture of health.”

CHCC will be responsible for implementation of the strategic plan and report its successes back to ACSM. CHCC will also publish an annual report on the plan’s progress and convene annual community meetings. The introduction of the plan also presents an opportunity for more organizations to work together and to make a collective impact on Cincinnati’s health and fitness.

“We’re proud to make an investment in Cincinnati as part of our continuing commitment to address health disparities and improve public health across the country,” said Erin Hoeflinger, President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio. “The technical assistance program allows ACSM to lend its expertise in identifying actionable areas with the best evidence for improving health and fitness at the community level and aims to expedite a community-wide impact.”

A previous grant from the Anthem’s parent company foundation in 2011 enabled ACSM to pilot technical assistance efforts in Indianapolis and Oklahoma City. This led to initiatives such as Top 10 coalition, a vision to make Indianapolis one of the top 10 healthiest communities in the U.S. by 2025, and Wellness Now, a plan to improve the health and wellness of Oklahoma City and County.

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 the Creating Healthy Communities Coalition

The goal of the Cincinnati Health Department’s Creating Healthy Communities Coalition is to encourage environmental, policy and systems changes in the community, worksite, school and health care settings to improve nutrition, increase physical activity, promote tobacco cessation and provide chronic disease prevention education.

The CHCC vision is to prevent disease by inspiring individuals and organizations to collectively engage Cincinnatians in an environment that makes healthy living accessible, popular, and fun. CHCC’s mission is to inspire and energize all Cincinnatian’s health and well-being through creative, fun, and innovative collaboration to create a collective impact. This will be accomplished by addressing healthy eating, active living, tobacco free living, and other relevant health issues to prevent disease.

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. 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 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 and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Strategic Plan Aims to Guide Las Vegas To Better Health, Fitness

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), with support from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, is expanding the ACSM American Fitness Index® () Technical Assistance Program to Las Vegas. ACSM unveiled a comprehensive strategic plan today that will guide the Las Vegas Valley toward improved health and fitness outcomes. ACSM created the plan with the assistance of the Las Vegas Healthy Communities Coalition (LVHCC), anchored by the United Way of Southern Nevada.

The technical assistance program is based on findings from the annual data report, which provides a health status snapshot of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. The metro area’s consistently low scores prompted the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to invest in Las Vegas. In 2013, ACSM received a $157,782 grant from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s parent Foundation to use this year’s data report and work with community organizations in Las Vegas and other markets to initiate locally driven health improvement efforts.

To create the strategic plan, ACSM worked with LVHCC and other community partners to conduct a root cause analysis to identify areas within Las Vegas that have the greatest need for improvement. The priority areas identified are:

  • Percentage of low birth weight deliveries is too high;
  • Percentage of 3rd grader’s reading scores and 8th grader’s math scores are too low;
  • The high school drop-out rate is too high and high school graduation rate is too low;
  • Percentage of 18-24 year olds not in school and not working is too high.

“Since the first data report in 2008, the Las Vegas metro has consistently ranked near the bottom of the American Fitness Index,” said Walter Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, chair of the Advisory Board. “The combination of this strategic plan and the cradle-to-career focus of the Las Vegas Healthy Communities Coalition, Health and Human Services sector will push the community to improved health, fitness and subsequent quality of life benefits.”

“We are very grateful to ACSM and the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation for their help and support at this critical moment,” said Nelson Araujo, senior director of collective impact and diversity at United Way of Southern Nevada. “By adopting the collective impact model, the Las Vegas Healthy Communities Coalition is working hard to identify strategies that will help allow all stakeholders to come together, develop common goals and work together to drive change more effectively in Southern Nevada.”

LVHCC will be responsible for implementation of the strategic plan and report its successes back to ACSM. The introduction of the plan also presents an opportunity for more organizations to work together and to make a collective impact on Las Vegas’s health and fitness.

“We’re proud to make an investment in Las Vegas as part of our continuing commitment to address health disparities and improve public health across the country,” said Mike Murphy, president and general manager of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Nevada “The technical assistance program allows ACSM to lend its expertise in identifying actionable areas with the best evidence for improving health and fitness at the community level in order to make a community-wide impact quickly.”

A previous grant from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s parent Foundation in 2011 enabled ACSM to pilot technical assistance efforts in Indianapolis and Oklahoma City. This led to initiatives such as the “Top 10” coalition, a vision to make Indianapolis one of the top 10 healthiest communities in the U.S. by 2025, and Wellness Now, a plan to improve the health and wellness of Oklahoma City and County.

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 the Las Vegas Healthy Communities Coalition

Las Vegas Healthy Communities Coalition (LVHCC) is a community-based initiative led by key community stakeholders, dedicated to creating a healthy Las Vegas Valley. LVHCC, anchored by the United Way of Southern Nevada, fosters partnerships and collaboration among diverse community-based organizations and the sharing of resources and best practices in order to improve the health and well-being of Las Vegas Valley residents. LVHCC is a member of the Strive Network, the national network launched in 2011 as a way to connect communities that are building Cradle to Career civic infrastructure. More information can be found by visiting lvhealthycommunitiescoalition.org.

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. 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 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 associate giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Rethinking Walking

Walking is a simple and easy way to add physical activity to daily schedules and since it’s free, it’s available to everybody. Since the first edition of the ACSM American Fitness Index® data report, ACSM has recognized the importance of walking for a healthy lifestyle.

While the Fitness Index has always taken the number of people who walk to work as part of its methodology, it hasn’t considered walking trips to amenities such as grocery stores, shops and school.

New Walk Score® Ranking Indicator

For the latest edition of the data report, ACSM added a new walking indicator: Walk Score® rankings. Walk Score uses a point-based system to measure the walkability of a neighborhood.

Multiple studies show that people living in walkable neighborhoods and cities are more likely to reach the recommended amount of physical activity because they can travel by foot to work, shop, eat, play or pray.

Most Walkable Cities

According to the latest report from Walk Score, the top five cities for walking are:

1. New York
2. San Francisco
3. Boston
4. Philadelphia
5. Miami

Washington D.C., which finished first in the 2014 data report, has the seventh best Walk Score ranking. Learn your neighborhood’s Walk Score® ranking at WalkScore.com.

Every Body Walk!

ACSM is also working with Kaiser Permanente to drive awareness of the Every Body Walk! 30 Minutes to Better Health initiative to clinicians and other health professionals. Every Body Walk! is a campaign aimed at getting more Americans up and moving. To learn more visit everybodywalk.org.