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Washington, D.C., is Most Fit City for 3rd consecutive year, new rankings reveal

For Immediate Release
May 18, 2016

Mike Fulton at (301) 651-2508 or mikef@asheragency.com (Asher Agency)
Annie Spencer at (317) 637-9200 or aspencer@acsm.org (American College of Sports Medicine)
Leslie Porras at (818) 234-3368 or Leslie.Porras@anthem.com (Anthem Foundation)

 

Washington, D.C., is Most Fit City for 3rd consecutive year, new rankings reveal
Ninth annual American Fitness Index® finds rise in people exercising, drop in smoking

Indianapolis (May 18) – Washington, D.C., closely followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver, are the three fittest of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to the ninth annual American Fitness Index released today by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. View the rankings and individual metro data here or in the chart below.

The nation’s capital leads the pack for the third straight year, Minneapolis-St. Paul came in second, and Denver moved up from sixth to third in 2016. The three top metro areas showed increased walking by residents using public transportation; more parkland for exercise; and lower cardiovascular and diabetes issues. The Washington, D.C., region’s lower rate of smoking tipped the scales in its favor. Midwestern metro areas Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and Louisville rank last in the index.

Nationally, there were some remarkable positive shifts in a few measures comparing values between the 2016 and 2015 reports:

  • total scores increased for 30 MSAs (60%)
  • 11.8% increase in the percentage of individuals who indicated they exercised in the last 30 days
  • 4.7% drop in the percentage who smoked
  • 7.4% drop in the diabetes death rates overall
  • 5.2% increase in total park expenditure per resident
  • twice as many states had policies in 2016 that required teaching physical education at the elementary, middle or high school level

Conversely, the 2016 found that scores slipped for 19 MSAs from 2015 to 2016. MSAs experiencing the largest drop in scores included Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Sacramento and San Diego. The report also found a 7.7 percent increase in the percentage of the MSA population reporting a diagnosis of angina and a 7.0 percent increase in the percentage reporting a diagnosis of diabetes.

There were also some notable shifts in the rankings for individual MSAs. The rank changed five positions or more for nine MSAs (Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orlando, Providence, Sacramento and San Diego).

To aid cities of all sizes and metro areas in enhancing healthy lifestyles and promoting physical activity, ACSM and Anthem Foundation developed and released in late 2015 an Community Action Guide offering an overview of the critical decisions and factors related to effective community action: https://americanfitnessindex.org/community-action-guide/

“The has continually proven its value as a trusted measurement of the health of our metro areas, and it has also become a catalyst for urban and suburban leaders to shape infrastructures that promote healthy lifestyles and create positive outcomes,” said chair of the Advisory Board Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FASCM. “Our overarching goal is to offer communities and residents resources that can help them assess, plan and implement measures for a quality, healthier life.”

According to Anthem Chief Clinical Officer Craig Samitt, MD, promoting a healthy lifestyle begins with each individual. Samitt encourages all 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 incorporating activity into the weekday schedule and practicing good nutrition can improve fitness,” said Samitt. “We’re proud to continue our partnership with ACSM on an initiative that is providing actionable data for communities to create a culture of healthy lifestyles.”

At the community level, the data report has been 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.

2016 Rank 2015 Rank Metropolitan Area 2016 Score
1 1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 77.9
2 2 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 76.7
3 6 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 72.6
4 7 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 69.6
5 4 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 69.3
6 8 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 69.0
7 9 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 67.0
8 12 Salt Lake City, UT 65.5
9 11 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 65.3
10 3 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 64.1
11 10 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 63.4
12 17 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 63.1
13 5 Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA 62.4
14 14 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 62.3
15.5± 20 Austin-Round Rock, TX 59.3
15.5± 13 Raleigh, NC 59.3
17 19 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 56.5
18 18 Richmond, VA 55.1
19 15 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 54.6
20 33 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 54.2*
21 28 Providence-Warwick, RI-MA 54.2*
22 24 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 53.8
23 16 Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN 52.7
24 22 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 52.3
25 25 Cleveland-Elyria, OH 52.1
26 27 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 51.7
27 21 Pittsburgh, PA 51.3
28 29 Saint Louis, MO-IL 50.9
29 23 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 50.8
30 26 Kansas City, MO-KS 50.3
31 35 Jacksonville, FL 49.5
32 30 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 48.2
33 42 New Orleans-Metairie, LA 46.0
34 37 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 44.9
35 32 Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY 43.6
36 34 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 42.7
37 41 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 42.2
38 38 Columbus, OH 41.6
39 43 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 41.4
40 39 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 40.6
41 31 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 40.4*
42 40 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 40.4*
43 36 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 40.3
44 44 Birmingham-Hoover, AL 39.4
45 47 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 35.0
46 45 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 34.2
47 49 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 33.3
48 46 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 31.8
49 48 Oklahoma City, OK 29.5
50 50 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 26.6

±There was a tie in the ranking between the MSAs.

*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.

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 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. More details can be found at http://www.acsm.org/

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.

American Fitness Index Releases New Community Action Guide

 

For immediate release: January 20, 2016

American Fitness Index Releases New Community Action Guide

Updated tool helps leaders take action to improve the health of their communities

INDIANAPOLIS- The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) American Fitness Index released a new Community Action Guide today, offering communities a resource to help leaders realize local health and fitness goals. The guide, which will replace an earlier edition published in 2009, is a companion document to the annual Data Report, which reports the fittest city in America each year based on a score derived from a comprehensive list of health indicators ranking the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the U.S.

“The goal of is not only to name a fittest city each year, but to identify potential areas that cities might focus efforts to improve the health and lifestyles of residents,” said Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, associate dean in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta and chair of the Advisory Board. “The Community Action Guide provides practical tools, examples and resources for creating effective change at the local level that can help cities offer healthier places to live.”

Funded by the Anthem Foundation, this Community Action Guide has been developed to support efforts to address community challenges and to encourage communities and neighborhoods of all sizes to focus efforts to help improve the health of their residents. In the guide, local leaders will find information about coalition building and putting community goals into practice. The guide details strategies for effective planning, leadership, monitoring and evaluation of group efforts. The guide incorporates expertise from local leaders with experience in affecting community change, health and fitness experts and the Advisory Board.

“As we begin a new year, the  Community Action Guide comes at a pivotal time for cities looking to shape a healthier future for their residents,” said Craig Samitt, MD, MBA, chief clinical officer for Anthem, Inc. “We’re happy to provide local communities with actionable resources that are vital to help incentivize, motivate and energize individuals and families to unlock the potential for a healthier lifestyle.”

Other resources available from include the 2015 report and infographic, five-year trend reports and a community application tool for communities not included in the 50 largest MSA ranking.

 

Contacts:

Paul Branks, 317-352-3827, pbranks@acsm.org

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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.

Surgeon General Says: Step It Up!

The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, wants you to make walking a part of your life and help others make it a part of theirs. “Today with the help of Every Body Walk and Allison Janney, I’m releasing a short video at the #‎WalkingSummit to tell everyone about the power of walking. Let’s #‎StepItUp, America, and let’s do it together.”

Step It Up! – The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities – recognizes the importance of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities. It calls on Americans to be more physically active through walking and calls on the nation to better support walking and walkability. Improving walkability means that communities are created or infrastructure improved to make walking safe and accessible in order to encourage pedestrian activity.

This PSA was created as an original co-production between the Office of the Surgeon General and Every Body Walk! and it is narrated by seven-time Emmy Award winner Allison Janney (The West Wing, Mom).

#FitCityIndex Twitter Chat Highlights

Did you participate in the #FitCityIndex Twitter chat?  On August 5, 2015, Advisory Board Chair Dr. Walt Thompson hosted the first #FitCityIndex Twitter chat.  The conversation consisted of general questions ranging from the development of the Data Report to how to use the Data Report to make changes in the health and fitness of a community.  We’ve highlighted a few of our favorite moments below!

 

What are some of the biggest challenges cities face when it comes to helping their residents stay fit?

Twitter Chat img 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is a good person to share the report with on the policy level?

Twitter Chat img 7

 

 

 

 

 

 




 How are the data compiled?  Direct access, random phone calls?  How accurate is it?

Twitter Chat img 6

Why include only 50 most populous cities in the ?  Likely other much “fitter” cities we could learn from!  Why not include a larger # of cities?

Twitter Chat img 5

Thanks for giving us a benchmark & areas to focus on for Healthy Families.Twitter Chat img 3

I think we need data on rural communities as well.  Not sure where to start.Twitter Chat img 1

From the Field with Dot Fullwood

M. “Dot” Fullwood talks about the state of health and fitness in the San Francisco/Bay area, which ranked 8th in the 2010 ACSM American Fitness Index.

Fullwood, a graduate student at the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University, touches on efforts to improve physical activity in the Bay area and the need to change perceptions about physical activity across different socio-economic groups.

Fullwood is active in the Sunday Streets San Francisco program. Sunday Streets offers free and fun physical activity space to all San Franciscans and provides open space in neighborhoods that lack such space currently. Local businesses also benefit from increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic along commercial corridors. The events provide a model of how cities can provide healthy, environmental friendly outdoor activities for their residents. Check out Sunday Streets San Francisco on Facebook and Twitter.

From the Field with Sarah Pedersen

Sarah Pedersen talks about what makes Boston a physically active city in this episode of From the Field. Boston ranked 2nd in the 2010 ACSM American Fitness Index data report.

Sarah also talks about some programs in near Tufts University aimed at improving health and community fitness. Sarah is a PhD student in International Nutrition at Cornell University.

Physical Activity Can Help Tame Type-2 Diabetes

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Diabetes Association, have issued new exercise guidelines for people with Type-2 diabetes.

The ACSM American Fitness Index recognizes the increasing prevalence of Type-2 diabetes as a tremendous threat to the overall health and well-being of communities across the entire United States. For example, one of the data measures for the annual data report is the death rate due to diabetes per 100,000 people. This data point provides an estimate of how the disease impacts a community.

Encouraging individuals with Type-2 diabetes to get the appropriate amount of exercise is key to improving community health.

Read the news release about the new guidelines below.

EXERCISE CAN HELP TAME TYPE 2 DIABETES, SAY NEW GUIDELINES
ACSM, American Diabetes Association guidelines make strong case for physical activity

INDIANAPOLIS – New guidelines on exercise for people with diabetes are likely to open some eyes-and, for those who follow them, help prevent or manage diabetes, improve overall health and boost quality of life. A panel of nine experts developed the recommendations, published this month in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). ACSM and the American Diabetes Association issued the guidelines as a Joint Position Statement.

While research has solidly established the importance of physical activity to health for all individuals, the new guidelines provide specific advice for those whose diabetes may limit vigorous exercise. The recommendations call for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise spread out at least three days during the week, with no more than two consecutive days between bouts of aerobic activity. “Most people with type 2 diabetes do not have sufficient aerobic capacity to undertake sustained vigorous activity for that weekly duration, and they may have orthopedic or other health limitations,” says Sheri R. Colberg, Ph.D., FACSM, who chaired the writing group. Hence, she explains, the group calls for a regimen of moderate-to-vigorous activity and makes no recommendation for a lesser amount of vigorous activity.

Strength training, too
Aerobic activity alone cannot give full benefit of exercise to diabetic individuals, say the experts. Recent research has shown that resistance exercise (strength training) is as important as-and perhaps even more important than-aerobic training in diabetes management. The latest studies, says Colberg, have reinforced the additional benefit of combining aerobic and resistance training for people with diabetes.

No excuses: Physicians should prescribe exercise
According to Colberg, “Many physicians appear unwilling or cautious about prescribing exercise to individuals with type 2 diabetes for a variety of reasons, such as excessive body weight or the presence of health-related complications. However, the majority of people with type 2 diabetes can exercise safely, as long as certain precautions are taken. The presence of diabetes complications should not be used as an excuse to avoid participation in physical activity.” In keeping with the philosophy of ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine® initiative, Colberg urges that physical activity be a conscious part of every person’s health plan, as appropriate for age and physical condition.

High stakes, high yield
The benefits far exceed considerations of an individual’s health and quality of life, say Colberg and other experts. Predictions that one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are accompanied by estimates that diabetes and prediabetes in the U.S. will cost almost $500 billion a year by 2020 (UnitedHealth Group, Inc.). According to Colberg, “If current trends go unabated, we are in fact doomed to higher health care costs and drastically reduced quality and length of life due to diabetes-related complications such as heart disease and kidney failure. As individuals, as communities and as part of a nation and world, we have to work collectively to stop diabetes before it stops us.”

From the Field with Dr. Jim Pivarnik

In this video, Jim Pivarnik, PhD, FACSM, and immediate past-president of the American College of Sports Medicine shares his thoughts on how the ACSM American Fitness Index™ can help improve physical activity levels across the U.S.

Dr. Pivarnik is a professor of kinesiology and epidemiology at Michigan State University and director of MSU’s Center for Physical Activity and Health.

Dr. Pivarnik has been instrumental in the creation of Exercise is Medicine™ on Campus, an ACSM program promoting physical activity and healthy living to the 19 millions students enrolled at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

From the Field with Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, R.D.

The second installment of From the Field features Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, DCN, MS, RD, FACSM, of Holmdel, N.J.

Dr. Stoler is a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist, and expert consultant in nutrition and healthful living. In this video. Dr. Stoler comments on the state of health and fitness in the New York metropolitan area, how she’s helping improve physical activity in her community and her opinion on what makes a city “fit.”

Dr. Stoler points out that all physical activity counts and that exercise does not have to involve a change of clothes, footwear and a shower.