Every year the American College of Sports Medicine releases the American Fitness Index. This report ranks the fitness of several cities in the United States.
Indianapolis bottoms out the list. They've been working steadily to improve walkability and opportunity for physical activity. It takes time to make change. The benefits from the changes they've made will not be evident in the report for years. They rank 50th in personal health indicators. They fall short of the goal for physical activity.
Many Southern cities round out the bottom ten. Oklahoma City is number 49. Louisville, Kentucky is 48th. These cities don't spend as much on parks per resident.
Older cities that have been around for hundreds of years aren't as driven for change. Many of the cities are working on initiatives to make it easier for these cities to be physically active. The changes that are taking place are too small to move these cities up to the next ranking.
Money drives a lot of the priorities for improving community assets. Many cities have low scores. Rural communities and depressed economies cannot afford the same improvements as other areas. These places can still improve by encouraging more physical activity for children in schools and providing opportunities for community members to engage in fitness. Many churches have built gyms and walking trails on their properties to prompt changes. Community members can form coalitions to take small steps to increase physical activity. Taking initiative for small changes can make a huge difference.
Listen in as Dr. Barbara Ainsworth discusses with Melanie Cole, MS, the bottom of the AFI list and how to make improvements in your community.