Every year the American College of Sports Medicine releases its American Fitness Index (AFI). The AFI ranks the fitness of communities across the country based on extensive research.
The AFI analyzes research from various agencies to determine the overall health behavior of a population. Physical activity, level of smoking, and adherence to eating guidelines are all contributing factors to the score a community receives for personal health indicators.
The community and environmental indicators include the amount of park land in the city, number of farmer's markets per million, number of pools and recreational resources, and how many people bicycle to work. These scores are combined to determine a city's rank.
The top ten cities were high in their walk score, provision of farmer's markets and proportion of the population that lives near a park. There are plenty of places for people to receive some physical recreation. The proportion of people who are physically active exceeds the goal set by ACSM.
Washington D.C. tops the list with the personal, community and environmental indicators. Personal health was 81.7 of 100 (#2 on the list). Community and environmental was 74.2 (#3 on the list), leading to the highest composite score. There are lots of parks in Washington D.C., giving an advantage for walking opportunities. Minneapolis comes in second with a walking track near the airport. Denver is number three, coming in first with personal health and eighth with environmental health.
Where does your community fall on the list?
Dr. Barbara Ainsworth joins Melanie Cole, MS, to discuss the top cities on this year's report.