If you're working hard to achieve a healthier and fitter body, it likely helps to be living in one of the fittest cities in the country and if you happen to live in the nation's capital, you're lucky because you also currently live in the nation's fitness capital, according to data from a report released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) on Wednesday.
ACSM's annual American Fitness Index (AFI) ranks the largest cities in America according to health and fitness levels based on personal health indicators which include the incidence rates of diabetes and smoking, and community and environmental indicators, which evaluated farmer's markets, bike lanes and parks, public structures that are known to contribute to the health and wellness of residents.
"Health advocates and community leaders have come to expect the arrival of the American Fitness Index as an annual check-up regarding their community's health and fitness levels," said AFI Advisory Board chair Walter Thompson. "The AFI data report is a snapshot of the state of health in the community and an evaluation of the infrastructure, community assets and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles."
For this year's AFI results, Washington emerged to be the fittest city in the country earning a score of 77.3 out of the highest achievable score of 100. The city topped all other cities in community health and went third in personal health to snatch from Minneapolis-St. Paul the title of fittest city that the Twin Cities held for three consecutive years. Washington's high score was particularly due to its low mortality rate for diabetes and heart disease and because it has more farmer's market and parks relative to its population.
Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota, which held the position as the country's fittest city for three years in a row before getting edged by Washington this year, came in second with a score of 73.5. It was followed by Portland in Oregon, which achieved a score of 73.5. The other cities that made it to the top ten fittest cities in the U.S. were Denver in Colorado (71.7), San Francisco in California (71.0), San Jose, also in California (69.4), Seattle, Washington, (69.3), San Diego, California (69.2), Boston, Massachusetts (69.1) and Sacramento, California (66.9).
The top five cities that received the lowest scores, on the other hand, were Nashville, Tennessee (32.5), Indianapolis, Indiana (32.3), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (31.6), Louisville, Kentucky (25.7) and Memphis, Tennessee which received the lowest score of 24.8.