May 25 2011

American Fitness Index – 2011. How Fit is Your City? Graehm Gray

The 2011 American Fitness Index (AFI) report was released this week by the American College of Sports Medicine. Meant as a report of the Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, the AFI was developed in 2008 as a measure of the fitness of various cities and communities across the United States, using “ a composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, health care access, as well as community resources and polices that support physical activity, “and allows officials, residents and potential residents to see the health statistics in their community. This can help identify ways to improve the health and “quality of life and well-being” of the residents of that particular community. In addition to the fitness components of the community, violent crime statistics are also shown for each community. The index uses the 50 largest metropolitan areas of the United States as determined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (from data supplied by the U.S. Census). High AFI scores indicates “strong community fitness,” and are analogous to an individual’s strong personal commitment to physical fitness. Low scores can be interpreted as the reverse.

So let’s go to the results and see where your city’s fitness ranks:

2011 Rank/ City/ 2010 Rank
1 Minneapolis, MN -3
2 Washington, DC – 1
3 Boston, MA – 2
4 Portland, OR – 5
5 Denver, CO – 6
6 San Francisco, CA – 8
7 Hartford, CT – 9
8 Seattle, WA – 4
9 Virginia Beach, VA – 17
10 Sacramento, CA – 7
11 San Jose, CA – 14
12 Richmond, VA – 11
13 San Diego, CA – 13
14 Cincinnati, OH – 12
15 Salt Lake City, UT – 15
16 Austin-Round Rock, Texas – 10
17 Pittsburgh, PA – 23
18 Atlanta, GA – 16
19 Providence, RI – 18
20 Baltimore, MD – 20
21 Milwaukee, WI – 27
22 Kansas City, MO – 29
23 Buffalo, NY – 28
24 Raleigh, NC – 22
25 Cleveland, OH – 25
26 Saint Louis, MO – 37
27 Philadelphia, PA – 26
28 Chicago, IL – 33
29 Orlando, FL – 19
30 New York City, NY – 21
31 Jacksonville, FL – 24
32 Phoenix, AZ – 32
33 San Antonio, TX – 43
34 New Orleans, LA – 41
35 Miami, FL – 39
36 Charlotte, NC – 34
37 Nashville, TN – 31
38 Columbus, OH – 35
39 Dallas, TX – 40
40 Tampa, FL – 30
41 Los Angeles, CA – 38
42 Houston, TX – 42
43 Las Vegas, NV – 45
44 Riverside, CA – 36
45 Indianapolis, IN – 44
46 Detroit, MI – 47
47 Birmingham, MI – 49
48 Memphis, TN – 48
49 Louisville, KY – 46
50 Oklahoma City, OK – 50

As you can see by the list, the top ten cities seem to have remained in the top ten. Virginia Beach made it into the top ten from a rank of 17 last year! Way to go! On the bottom end of the rankings, the bottom five remained the same, with Oklahoma City coming in at number 50 again!

Why is this fitness index important to you? Regular physical activity is important to your health by decreasing risks of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, some forms of cancer, risk of falls and depression and helps improve muscles and joints. Exercise is fundamental in weight control. Less physical activity is a strong contributor to the problems with childhood obesity as our children develop a more sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity also decreases significantly town the end of the teen years as well contributing to the development of adult obesity.

So there you have it my friends. Where you live and where you raise your family can impact on your health. Of course it is up to all of us, individually to exercise regularly and eat healthy. As parents, we are the directors of our childrens activity and nutrition programs. Our cities can be our life and health partner by having a positive surrounding environment that encourages physical activity, encourages our children to get and stay fit, and make it safe for all of us!
If your city is in the top ten, then your community leaders are on the right path. If your city is not in the top ten, there is room for improvement. If your city is in the bottom ten percent, you have a problem. Become an advocate for a healthy lifestyle. Your voice matters. And you will be surprised how many of your neighbors will back you up!

My friends, stay fit and healthy The Nerdel Way!

Links:
1. The American College of Sports Medicine: 2011 American Fitness Index – www.americanfitnessindex.org
2. American Fitness Index- 2010: Graehm Gray – www.nerdel.com/blog
3. American College of Sports Medicine : www.acsm.org

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