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Washington, DC, Fittest Metro Area Again

INDIANAPOLIS -- For the third year in a row, the Washington, DC, metropolitan area is the fittest in the United States.

Washington, whose metro area includes Arlington, VA, and Alexandria, VA, once again claimed the highest ranking in the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) American Fitness Index (AFI).

“We are thrilled to be the fittest city in the nation for the third consecutive year,” Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty said in a statement published at “We are investing in our recreation centers, building new swimming pools and opening more parks so our residents can exercise, swim, walk, bike and compete in sports.”

The AFI data report, “Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas,” takes into account personal health indicators, such as the physical attributes and lifestyle of a community’s citizens, as well as community and environmental indicators, such as golf courses, baseball fields and swimming pools.

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria scored 73.5 out of a possible 100 points. Characteristics of the DC metro area that put it at the top of the list include a relatively low smoking rate, more people eating fruits and vegetables, and lower rates of chronic health concerns, such as obesity, asthma and diabetes. Washington also has the second-highest rate of people walking or biking to work, complete with 60 miles of bike lanes.

Rounding out the top five metro areas are Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Seattle and Portland, OR. Oklahoma City is 50th out of the 50 metro areas evaluated. Other metro areas in the bottom five are Birmingham, AL; Memphis, TN, Detroit; and Louisville, KY.

“I liken the data report and rankings to the metro areas ‘getting a physical’ at the doctor’s office,” says Walt Thompson, AFI advisory board chair. “The information learned from the physical will help each metro area identify areas of strength and weaknesses.”

ACSM received a grant from the WellPoint Foundation, based in Indianapolis, to present the 2010 data report, which includes information on all 50 metro areas.

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