Tag: Rankings

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.

Minneapolis-St. Paul Tops Fit List for Second Straight Year

For the second consecutive year, Minneapolis-St. Paul is the healthiest, fittest metropolitan area in the United States, according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) annual American Fitness Index® ().

Made possible by a grant from the WellPoint Foundation, the 2012 data report, “Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas,” evaluated the most populous city areas to identify the healthiest and fittest places in the United States. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington achieved a high score of 76.4 (out of 100 possible points) to capture the top ranking.

Check out the Quick View to see how each metro area ranked. A full copy of the 2012 data report is available at https://americanfitnessindex.org/report.

The data report reflects a composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, health care access and community resources and policies that support physical activity. New to the 2012 data report is a benchmark for each data indicator to help identify areas that need improvement.

“Although many people will gravitate to which cities are fit or less fit, it’s important to remember that there is room for improvement in every community,” added Thompson. “It’s also worth noting that even the lowest-ranked areas have healthy residents and community resources that support health and fitness.”

To assist with measurement and to provide a baseline measure of health and fitness status, ACSM worked with the Indiana University School of Family Medicine and a panel of 26 health and physical activity experts on the methodology of the data report. Researchers analyzed the data gleaned from U.S. Census data, 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 examined fall into two categories:

  1. Personal health indicators
  2. Community and environmental indicators

Building a Healthier Chicago!

ACSM has been proud to work with Assistant Surgeon General Dr. James M. Galloway in the early years of the ACSM American Fitness Index. Dr. Galloway spoke about the importance of the data report to the Building a Healthier Chicago! initiative upon the launch of the program in 2008.

Building a Healthier Chicago! is a collaborative endeavor between the American Medical Association, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and the Office of the Regional Health Administrator of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Region V.

The goal of the campaign is to improve the health of Chicago’s residents and employees through the integration of existing and new public health, medicine and community health activities.

The campaign involves several programs including:

  • F.I.T. City: A restaurant initiative to develop and promote F.I.T. (Fresh, Innovative, and Tasty) menu options through partnerships with restaurants, chefs, culinary schools, health advocates, and community groups.
  • Focus Community: Specific program to help the Austin community, located on Chicago’s west side, gain access to healthy foods. Austin is the most densely populated community within Chicago, but has no chain supermarket thus residents have limited access to healthy foods. Parts of Austin have even been designated as “food deserts.”
  • Building a Healthier Chicago’s Agribusiness: A project aimed to set up markets in food deserts to give residents access to affordable fruits and vegetables. The program worked with the DePaul University Graduate School of Business to create a simple market concept- sell food for a dollar each – two apples for a dollar, four potatoes for a dollar, etc.
  • “Federal Employees: Active and Healthy…Working Well”: A worksite wellness program for federal employees aimed to improve the culture of the city’s federal workplaces to encourage employee wellness through healthy eating, and various physical activities.

Chicago ranked 28th 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. The metro area earned a score of 48.9 (out of 100 possible points) in 2011.

The metro area ranked 34th on personal health indicators related to health behaviors, chronic health problems and health care, and 21st on community/environmental indicators related to the built environment, recreational facilities, park-related expenditures, physical education requirements and primary health care providers.

Pertinent to Building a Healthier Chicago, only 22.5% of the population reports eating 5+ servings of fruits/vegetables a day. However, the area has an above average number of farmers’ markets (17.7/1,000,000).

Building a Healthier Chicago! operates under the Social Ecological Model, which acknowledges how environmental factors impact the decisions people make. This model combines these multiple perspectives and promotes a healthy environment/lifestyle suited for the social space in which people live, eat, work and play.

For more information, please visit: healthierchicago.org.

Building a Healthier Chicago

Oklahoma City’s Wellness Now Initiative

From time to time, we like to highlight community initiatives and programs that are making a difference. Wellness Now is a community-led initiative in Oklahoma City, Okla., aimed at addressing the city’s health problems. Oklahoma City ranked 50th 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. The metro area earned a score of 24.6 (out of 100 possible points) in 2011.

Oklahoma City struggles with a wide variety of health problems including obesity and tobacco use, both of which are contributors to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. The study reports 28.6% of the city’s population being obese and 22.8% currently smoking. As a result, the city ranks 50th in personal health indicators with a score of 15.6.

Wellness Now, started in April of 2010, is a collaboration between nearly 100 community partners including schools, health care professionals, elected officials from all levels of government, faith-based and community-based organizations, and private sector companies all dedicated to making necessary changes in order to create a healthy community. In addition to the program’s partners, Wellness Now relies heavily on people in the neighborhoods to participate in surveys and community forums.

The program is chaired by Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and County Commission Chairman Ray Vaughn, and addresses the following public health priority areas:

  • Obesity
  • Mental Health
  • School Health
  • Senior Health
  • Tobacco Use Prevention
  • Obstacles to Health
  • Maternal & Child Health
  • Chronic Disease

For example, the program aims to increase access to and consumption of healthy, safe and affordable food, encourage physical activity, and promote local ordinances requiring 100% smoke-free workplaces. For more examples on specific actions for each of the above mentioned public health priority areas, check out http://www.occhd.org/community/wellnessnow/action

For more information on Wellness Now, visit http://www.occhd.org/community/wellnessnow or https://www.facebook.com/WellnessNowInitiative.

Spotlight on Kansas City: Health and Fitness in the City of Fountains

Today’s post takes a look at the metropolitan statistical area of Kansas City, Mo. Notably, the city has more parks, golf courses, famer’s markets and ball diamonds per capita than any other state. To be exact, there are 214 urban parks, 152 ball diamonds, 10 community centers, 105 tennis courts, five golf courses, and 30 pools occupying the city’s 318 square miles.

Kansas City ranked 22nd 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. The metro area earned a score of 51.5 (out of 100 possible points) in 2011, moving up from a rank of 29th and a score of 47.9 in 2010.

The area ranked 25th on community/environmental indicators related to the built environment, recreational facilities, physical education requirements and primary health care providers. The study reports 59.3% of the population is in excellent or good health. However, Kansas City continues to struggle with the number of smokers as nearly 20% are currently smoking, down just 1% from 2010 and still above the country’s average.

Despite the larger number of farmer’s markets per capita and City Market, one of the largest and most stable public farmers’ markets in the Midwest, only 18.7% of residents report eating 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

The percentage of residents with chronic health concerns is relatively low and the community still places a strong commitment to physical education classes for the city’s youth. With an abundance of fitness facilities in the Kansas City area, it is only a matter of time before the city can improve it’s ranking.

For a complete list of the Kansas City’s strengths and challenges, plus a breakdown of the components that helped make up its score, please visit the website and download the Kansas City report at www.americanfitnessindex.org/report.htm.

Kansas City Skyline

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 www.americanfitnessindex.org/report.htm.

Richmond Skyline

Spotlight on Washington D.C. – Health and Fitness in our Nation’s Capitol

Today’s post looks at the metropolitan statistical area of Washington D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, which spans from southern Maryland to northern Virginia. From 2008-2010, DC Metro ranked at the top of the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) American Fitness Index® (), which evaluates the 50 most populous city areas and identifies the healthiest and fittest places in the United States.

This year, Minneapolis-St. Paul edged DC Metro out of the number one spot. According to the 2011 data report, D.C. took the number two spot with a score of 76.8 out of a possible 100 points.

Washington D.C. dropped to 2nd this year for several reasons. It showed an increase in smokers from 12.3% in 2010, to 13.6% in 2011. The area also showed a slight increase in the number of residents reporting that they have diabetes. In 2010, the report showed 6.7% with diabetes, and in 2011 a small increase to 7.1%. However, even with these changes Washington D.C. still ranks first in personal health indicators with a score of 83.1. This is highly influenced by the 4 out of 5 people who report exercising regularly and a high percentage of citizens reporting to be in excellent or very good health (64.1%).

Washington D.C. and its surrounding areas rank 3rd for community and environmental indicators related to health. The area increased its number of farmer’s markets per million residents to 18.6 indicating an increase in healthier eating, and has an above average number of primary health care providers per 100,000 residents at 105.2. While the area reduced park related expenditures this year ($259 per capita), its still the highest amount among the 50 areas measured. And the area’s percentage of parkland is still well above average at 19.4%.

Recreational facilities are plentiful in the nation’s capitol, but getting a tee time might prove difficult — the number of golf courses per 100,000 residents is 0.5.

For a complete list of metro area’s strengths and challenges, plus a breakdown of the components that helped make up its score, please visit the website and download the Washington D.C. report at www.americanfitnessindex.org/report.htm.

The Capitol Building

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 www.americanfitnessindex.org/report.htm.

Spotlight on Milwaukee: Health and Fitness in Wisconsin’s Largest City

Today’s post takes a look at the metropolitan statistical area of Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis in Wisconsin. The fictional home of The Fonz, Richie Cunningham, Laverne and Shirley, is more accurately famous for its tradition as a brewing and manufacturing town.

Milwaukee ranked 21st 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. The metro area earned a score of 51.8 (out of 100 possible points) in 2011, moving up from a rank of 27th and a score of 49.2 in 2010.

Wisconsin’s largest metro area ranked 17th on personal health indicators related to health behaviors, chronic health problems and health care.

Milwaukee has an above-average percentage of smokers (18.9%) among the 50 metro areas included in the data report. And residents of this region are above average at getting physical activity. Seventy-nine percent of residents report getting physical activity in the last 30 days and 53% report being physically active at least moderately.

The percentage of residents with chronic health concerns is typically just below average. Nine in 10 residents have health insurance.

The area ranked 34th on community/environmental indicators related to the built environment, recreational facilities, park-related expenditures, physical education requirements and primary health care providers. The area has an above average number of farmers’ markets (22.4/1,000,000). Milwaukee scored very low on the number of recreation centers and tennis courts and spends only $59 per capita on park-related expenditures (the MSA average is $101.5).

Walk Score recently ranked Milwaukee as the 15th most walkable of the 50 largest U.S. cities. Milwaukee also lies on Lake Michigan, making it a popular venue for water activities such as sailing and windsurfing.

For a complete list of the Milwaukee’s strengths and challenges, plus a breakdown of the components that helped make up its score, please visit the website and download the Milwaukee report at www.americanfitnessindex.org/report.htm.

Milwaukee

Introducing the Technical Assistance Project

To help communities improve the health of their residents, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) today introduced the American Fitness Index® () Technical Assistance Project. With support from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, the Technical Assistance Program will be piloted in Indianapolis and Oklahoma City. The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis will be the convening partner in the Indianapolis effort.

The new program builds upon the annual ACSM American Fitness Index® data report, which provides a health status snapshot of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. The Indianapolis metro area has consistently scored poorly in the data report, ranking 45th with a score of 34.4 (out of 100 possible points) in the 2011 edition. The metro area ranked 44th with a score of 35.9 in 2010.

Contributing to Indianapolis’ low score is a high percentage of smokers and an above-average population with chronic health problems such as obesity, asthma and coronary heart disease. As a community, the metro area’s investment in park-related expenditures and facilities is on the low end. Additionally, less than two percent of residents bike, walk or use public transportation to get to their jobs.

The Technical Assistance Program will identify actionable areas with the best evidence for improving health and fitness at the community level and aims to make a community-wide impact quickly. The program will balance helping underserved populations with doing the most good for the most residents. In a October 17 news release, Chair Dr. Walt Thompson noted the significance of prohibitive smoking policies that can make an immediate impact.

The program begins with a series of interviews with community advocates and experts – identified by the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and the Alliance for Health Promotion – with keen insight into the health and fitness of the Indianapolis metropolitan area. The Bowen Research Center, the Research Division of the Indiana University School of Medicine, will conduct the interviews to get feedback on Indianapolis’ unique strengths, assets and areas of needed improvement related to healthy living and physical activity.

Following the interview phase, ACSM will facilitate a planning session with a community team to address the key issues and create a strategic plan. A period of public comment will follow, allowing the community to weigh in on the plan. The community team will be responsible for implementing and tracking successes back to ACSM. ACSM experts will participate in the implementation phase and will share lessons learned and best practice solutions through the program.

In addition to Indianapolis, the pilot program will be conducted with community leaders in Oklahoma City in 2011. The goal is to add four additional cities in 2012 and 2013 respectively, bringing the total to ten cities that will receive tailored technical assistance.