Spotlight on Los Angeles: Health and Fitness in The City of Angels

Today’s post looks at Los Angeles and its surrounding areas including Long Beach and Santa Ana. It is a city that promises new life, hope, fame and fortune to many looking to move west.

Los Angeles ranked 41st in the most recent ACSM American Fitness Index® () data report, which evaluates the 50 most populous city areas and identifies the healthiest and fittest places in the United States. L.A. earned a score of 39.1 (out of 100 possible points) in 2011, moving down from a rank of 38th and a score of 40.5 in 2010.

Los Angeles ranked 30th with a score of 44.8 on personal health indicators related to health behaviors, chronic health problems and health care. The City of Angels has a fairly low percentage of smokers (11.2%) compared to the national average of 17.9%. The percent of people getting exercise or doing physical activities within the last 30 days (77.8%) is only 1.6% higher than the national average, however, this is a 3.2% increase from the previous report in 2010. Los Angelinos fall at the low end of communities in which residents report being in excellent or very good health (48.8%, just a few points above the MSA low of 46.4%.

The city ranked 45th on community/environmental indicators related to the built environment, recreational facilities, park-related expenditures, physical education requirements and primary health care providers with a score of 33.9 out of 100 possible points. The metro area scored poorly in the number of recreational facilities per capita.

Despite its average scores on built environment indicators, the city has witnessed a propensity toward Smart Growth planning principles. Walk Score recently gave Los Angeles a score of 95 out of 100 and called it a “Walkers Paradise”. This is important because it lends to the physical and financial health of the residents and businesses in the community.

For a complete list of the L.A.’s strengths and challenges, plus a breakdown of the components that helped make up its score, please visit the website and download the Los Angeles report at