Spotlight on Richmond, Va: Health and Fitness in One of America’s Oldest Cities

Today’s post takes a look at Richmond, the third largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in Virginia. The city of Richmond and its surrounding areas include a population of 1.2 million residents, six Fortune 500 companies, and countless historical monuments and museums.

Richmond took the number 12 spot in the 2011 data report with a total of 64.2 points (out of a possible 100). This ranking was down one spot from 2010. With an above average number of residents getting exercise in the last 30 days, a 5% increase in the number of residents eating five or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day, and a strong percentage (66%) reporting to be in excellent or very good health, it would appear that Richmond is making the right moves towards a healthier community.

On the other hand, Richmond experienced a nearly 4% increase in the number of reported smokers, an increase in residents categorized as obese, and an increase in the deaths per 100,000 from cardiovascular disease. Even with all that, the increase in healthy habits mentioned above, and the 6% increase in residents who are getting moderate physical activity, Richmond moved up a spot to 8th in personal health indicators related to chronic health problems and health care.

While Richmond scores in the top 10 on personal health indicators, it is in the top 20 according to the community and environment indicators. Almost every indicator used in this category stayed the same from the 2010 to 2011 data report with the exception of the number of farmer’s markets. This number nearly doubled from 4.9 per 100,000 residents in 2010 to 9.7 in this year’s report, indicating an increased propensity towards healthier eating. Richmond has the most tennis courts per 10,000 residents (6.9) among the 50 city areas measured in the data report.

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

Richmond Skyline