The 2019 report of the fittest cities in America takes into account both community and personal fitness. The rankings are produced using data from the 100 largest cities in the USA, and reveal some surprising results.
With growing focus on preventable diseases like obesity and diabetes, this year’s fittest cities in America rankings are eagerly awaited. The list, compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine, along with the Anthem Foundation, is produced annually to give insights into the development of fitness behaviours across the USA.
There is strong emphasis on fitness as a vehicle for physical, mental and economic wellbeing. The ACSM points to the correlation between physical activity and healthier, more economically productive cities. In the past we’ve reviewed data on the effects of obesity and business travel on health, but this survey takes a more community-orientated view.
This survey gathered data from America’s 100 largest cities across a wide range of categories. As well as the percentage of residents who have exercised in the last month, the data also takes into account other factors like community facilities and air quality. It recognises that fitness encompasses a wide variety of lifestyle choices. The top ten are as follows:
The 10 Fittest Cities in America
10. Portland, Oregon
Personal health rank: 25 Community & environment rank: 16
9. Denver, Colorado
Personal health rank: 15 Community & environment rank: 26
8. Irvine, California
Personal health rank: 8 Community & environment rank: 28
7. St Paul, Minnesota
Personal health rank: 27 Community & environment rank: 2
6. Washington, DC
Personal health rank: 13 Community & environment rank: 5
5. Madison, Wisconsin
Personal health rank: 2 Community & environment rank: 21
4. San Francisco, California
Personal health rank: 5 Community & environment rank: 13
3. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Personal health rank: 7 Community & environment rank: 4
2. Seattle, Washington
Personal health rank: 3 Community & environment rank: 9
1. Arlington, Virginia
Personal health rank: 1 Community & environment rank: 1
Arlington performed so well on the basis of its strong balance between community and personal fitness. A higher percentage of Arlington residents exercised in the month preceding the research than anywhere else in America. Meanwhile, Arlington ranked strongest when it came to lifestyle health, especially with rates of smoking. It was also helped by a high air quality index score and the extent to which residents met aerobic and strength activity guidelines.
America’s Deadliest Cities
As well as the fittest cities in America, the report also produced a list of the deadliest cities in America to be a pedestrian. This is part of a renewed focus on walking as a form of fitness. St Louis, Missouri, topped this list, with four of the deadliest cities for pedestrians being found in Florida. The ‘Complete Streets’ movement encourages cities to make it both convenient and safe for residents to walk, instead of taking the car. This puts emphasis on fitness being a part of every day life, as well as just something people do as an individual activity.
Biking is also receiving increased attention, with the fittest cities in America being much more cycle-friendly than others. This is largely based around cycle infrastructure such as dedicated bike lanes and bike sharing schemes. Minneapolis came top of this list, with Portland close behind. Separated cycle routes make cycling a much more safe activity. Air quality is also a factor heavily impacting residents health, with lower scoring cities posing a major threat to the health of their residents. Those with the best air quality were Norfolk, VA, Lubbock, TX and Virginia Beach, VA.
See the data in full
A vast array of data was collected for the survey by the American College of Sports Medicine. You can view the data in full, as well as compare different cities on the list, by clicking here. You’ll also find a variety of resources for helping to improve fitness levels in your city. What the rankings show above all is that higher fitness levels are best achieved through acting as a community. This is a message we at TrainAway wholly endorse.
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