Move over, Minneapolis-St. Paul: There's a new fittest metropolitan area in the United States.
This year's crown goes to Washington, DC, which is making news lately as its city council attempts to affix a sales tax to fitness club memberships. The top metro area honor is a result of the seventh annual American Fitness Index (AFI) data report released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Indianapolis. The ACSM report was funded once again by the WellPoint Foundation.
Washington, DC, had a score of 77.3 out of a possible 100 points in the report. Minneapolis-St. Paul, which earned the top spot each of the previous three years, is second with 73.5 points, followed by Portland, OR (72.1); Denver (71.7); and San Francisco (71.0), which led four California metro areas in the top 10. Rounding out the top 10 are San Jose, CA (69.4); Seattle (69.3); San Diego (69.2); Boston (69.1); and Sacramento, CA (66.9).
The bottom five metro areas on the list's Top 50 are Nashville, TN (32.5); Indianapolis (32.3); Oklahoma City (31.6); Louisville, KY (25.7); and Memphis, TN (24.8).
The 2014 AFI data report, officially titled "Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas," is a composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, and community resources and policies that support physical activity, according to the ACSM. This year's report used revised methods for calculating each metro area's score compared to the first six reports, the ACSM stated. New variables, including each community's walk score ranking, were added or modified, and some variables were removed to improve and enhance the report this year. The ACSM suggests 2014 rankings should not be compared with previous years.
"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," Walter Thompson, chair of the AFI advisory board, said in a statement. "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. These measures directly affect quality of life in our country's urban areas."
Last year, the ACSM received a $157,782 grant from the WellPoint Foundation to present this year's AFI data report and to work with community organizations in Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Miami throughout 2014 to initiate locally driven health improvement efforts. The ACSM will provide technical assistance to these metro areas, which were selected based on local opportunity and interest.