Arlington Ranked America’s “Fittest City”

A 2018 index of the nation's 100 largest cities places our town at No. 1.

Arlington Economic Development

Arlington is the fittest city in America, according to an annual fitness index released today by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation, besting Minneapolis (which came in at No. 2) and Washington, D.C. (No. 3).

The index ranked America’s 100 largest cities according to 33 health behaviors (such as diet, exercise and sleep) and chronic diseases, as well as amenities such as parks, athletic facilities, public transportation and walkability. Arlingtonians were found to have the lowest smoking rate and the highest reports of “very good” or “excellent” health.

“Obesity rates have climbed to 40 percent and related medical costs are exceeding $147 billion yearly,” Barbara Ainsworth, chair of the American Fitness Index Board, said in a press announcement. Ainsworth is also a Regents’ professor in the Exercise Science and Health Promotion Program in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University. “Along with dietary changes, exercise is one of the best ways people can turn this around; unfortunately, only 22 percent of Americans are meeting national physical activity guidelines.”

“We are pleased to see the results of cities that are incorporating healthier strategies into their planning to improve the walkability and bikeabilty of their communities, which helps improve physical activity of their residents,” said Craig Samitt, chief clinical officer at Anthem.

Some overall findings from the 2018 rankings:

  • 77.5% of adults in all of the cities studied were physically active in the previous month, with only 51.5% meeting aerobic activity guidelines and 22.2% meeting both strength and aerobic guidelines.
  • The average smoking rate across all cities was 15%; the highest was 25.7%.
  • 35% of residents in all cities reported their mental health was not good in the past 30 days (the top 25 cities averaged 35.8% reporting poor mental health in the past 30 days; the highest city was 44.1%).
  • 65.4% of residents in all cities indicated getting at least seven or more hours of sleep per night.
  • 30% of adults reported eating at least two servings of fruit per day, while only 18% indicated eating three or more servings of vegetables per day.
  • Averages among all cities were 4.6% walking or biking to work, and 65.7% located within a 10-minute walk of a park.

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Categories: Health & Fitness