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America's Fittest City: Arlington, Va.

TUESDAY, May 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Arlington, Va. is the "most fit city in America."

So says the American College of Sports Medicine.

Among the nation's 100 largest cities, Arlington had the lowest smoking rate and highest reports of very good or excellent health, the sports medicine group said.

The city received an overall score of 77.7 on the college's annual fitness index -- just half a point ahead of Minneapolis and 3.7 points ahead of neighboring Washington, D.C.

The fitness index analyzes 33 measures of health behaviors, chronic diseases and community infrastructure, such as walking and biking capability.

Other cities in the top 10 include: Madison, Wis.; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; Denver; St. Paul, Minn.; San Jose, Calif.; and Boise, Idaho.

The five lowest-ranked cities were: Oklahoma City; Indianapolis; Louisville, Ky.; Detroit; and Toledo, Ohio.

"Obesity rates have climbed to 40 percent, and related medical costs are exceeding $147 billion yearly," said Barbara Ainsworth, chair of the fitness index board.

"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," she said in a college news release.

Overall, the index found that more than three-quarters of adults in all 100 cities were physically active in the previous month. But only about half met aerobic activity guidelines and just 22 percent met both strength and aerobic guidelines.

Other highlights from the report:

  • The average smoking rate in all cities was 15 percent, with the highest rate nearly 26 percent. The average in all 16 California cities included in the index was less than 11 percent.
  • About 35 percent of people in all cities said their mental health was not good in the past 30 days. In one city, that rate topped 44 percent.
  • Two-thirds of residents in all cities said they got at least seven or more hours of sleep a night.
  • Thirty percent of adults said they had at least two servings of fruit a day. Only 18 percent said they ate three or more servings of vegetables daily.
  • Nearly 66 percent of people in all the cities lived within a 10-minute walk of a park. An average of 5 percent walked or cycled to work.

"Through the expanded fitness index rankings, more citizens and government leaders will be informed and motivated in developing strategies to improve health and fitness opportunities, and modify the infrastructures to support them," Ainsworth said.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.

May 15, 2018
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