American Fitness Index 2016: Bottom of the List

From the Show: Train Your Body
Summary: Even if your city falls on the bottom of the list, there are things you can do to improve fitness and overall health.
Air Date: 6/14/16
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Barbara Ainsworth, PhD, MPH, FACSM, FNAK
Barbara AinsworthBarbara E. Ainsworth is a Regents’ Professor in the Exercise Science and Health Promotion Program in School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University. Her research relates to physical activity and public health with focus on the assessment of physical activity in populations, the evaluation of physical activity questionnaires, and physical activity in women. Dr. Ainsworth is best known as the lead author for the Compendium of Physical Activities, an exhaustive list of the energy cost of human physical activities. Dr. Ainsworth is a Past President of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Academy of Kinesiology. She is a recipient of the ACSM Citation Award and the AAHPERD McKenzie Award. In 2015 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition  and has also has served on the President’s Council and the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport Scientific Committees. She is a life-long advocate of active living and spends her free time maintaining her yard and animals in Arizona and hiking in the nearby hills.
American Fitness Index 2016: Bottom of the List
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.