Washington, DC, Minneapolis-St. Paul and San Diego are the top three fittest cities in the United States, according to a study released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and funded by The Anthem Foundation. The eighth annual American Fitness Index (AFI) Data Report also ranked the least fit metro areas with Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Indiana, topping that list.
According to the study, the residents of the fittest three metro areas have a variety of outdoor exercise options and low rates of smoking, obesity and diabetes, which are all measurable health and community indicators.
The report is a scientific snapshot of the state of health and fitness at the metropolitan level, according to ACSM. The AFI measures the health of a metro area and helps urban leaders design infrastructure to promote active lifestyles. The study uses composite scores of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) to measure the health of each metro area. Access to public parks was a measure added this year.
"Our goal is to provide communities and residents with resources that help them assess, respond and achieve a better, healthier life," said Walter R. Thompson, chair of the AFI Advisory Board.
Physical inactivity is an epidemic in the United States, ACSM said. For a healthier, more active lifestyle, ACSM encouraged Americans to exercise for 30 minutes with 10 minutes of stretching and light muscle training five days a week.
See the above slides for details about the top 10 fittest metro areas. (Photos courtesy of Thinkstock.)
For more detailed information about the study, go to ACSM American Fitness Index.