Tag: resource

three people riding bikes in a park

Addressing Fitness Index FOMO | Resources for Cities Not Included on the Rankings Report

The American Fitness Index assesses key indicators and ranks the largest 100 U.S. cities by population and names one as the fittest city annually. What do you do if your community wasn’t large enough to be included in the rankings? How can you evaluate your community’s health and fitness? We can help you with that too! The  Community Fitness Assessment  was designed to help stakeholders in communities that were not included in the Fitness Index rankings by applying a similar approach to assessing their city’s community fitness and build understanding of the individual and societal factors related to physical activity in their community.

The  Community Fitness Assessment  will lead you through the steps to find data about your community, identify peer communities and then identify your community’s areas of excellence and opportunities for improvement.

 Community Fitness Assessment Steps

    1. Describe your community
    2. Identify the communities you want to compare with your own
    3. Search for personal health indicator data
    4. Search for community/environment indicator data
    5. Consider the option of a Mini Community Fitness Assessment
    6. Interpret the results
    7. Use the Community Fitness Assessment  profile to advocate for improved health and fitness

The  Community Fitness Assessment  is designed with collaboration in mind. That is, your community will likely need to build a team that represents multiple city departments and community organizations, including the health department, parks and recreation, transportation, planning and zoning, as well as other key community-based organizations and businesses. Members of this team can gather the most current local data needed to conduct the Community Fitness Assessment.  This team can also engage community members to share the results and collect feedback on their priorities for addressing areas needing improvement.

Throughout the process of conducting the assessment, leadership and engagement from elected officials like mayors and city councilors will be vital to success. These elected officials play a key role in allocating funding and passing ordinances that can advance the community-identified priorities. For example, community members may need new streetlights installed in their neighborhood to make it safer and easier to walk or bike home from work in the evening. City officials can work with local utilities to develop a plan for funding and installing new streetlights starting in areas with the highest need.

The results of your  Community Fitness Assessment  won’t be directly comparable to the scores and rankings for the 100 American Fitness Index cities due to proprietary weighting of the indicators in the national index, but you will have a better idea of where your community is doing well and where there’s room for improvement. Using the American Fitness Index rankings, you can also identify cities that perform well on specific indicators to contact for advice in addressing your community’s needs.

If your community needs a little extra help getting  your team started, you can also use the  Community Action Guide  which outlines the  steps to build an effective team to advocate for healthy changes in your community.

We’d love to hear your feedback. Let us know how you used the  Community Fitness Assessment  here.

active transportation op-ed template blog

Advocate for Active Transportation in Your Community | Op-ed Template

A key step in increasing active transportation habits and avenues  in your community is working to increase awareness of the economical, personal health and environmental benefits of walking and biking. Submitting an op-ed to your local newspaper, magazine or television station can be a productive way to spread the word about these benefits.

The American Fitness Index and ACSM’s ActivEarth Task Force have partnered to supply an op-ed template that you can use to generate or renew interest in active transportation methods in your community. The template can be easily customized for your local community.  Click here to download the template!  

Include stats from the Fitness Index Rankings report  in your op-ed.

Want to learn more about supporting active transportation? Check out more ActivEarth resources here.