Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Washington, D.C., Clings to Title of Fittest City

Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul Round Out Top 3 of America’s Fittest Cities List
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

May 27, 2010 -- The nation’s capital has claimed the top spot in the American College of Sports Medicine’s list of America’s fittest cities for the third straight year.

The ACSM’s American Fitness Index (AFI) for the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas is based on a composite of preventive health behaviors, chronic disease levels, community resources, and policies that support physical activity.

Most people in Washington do a considerable amount of walking, even if it is just from a stop on the rapid transit system to their office doors, the new report says. That’s good for cardiovascular health.

The ACSM received a grant from the WellPoint Foundation, based in Indianapolis, to study characteristics of each area and compute an index measuring health.

Walt Thompson, PhD, chairman of the advisory board of the American Fitness Index, says in a news release that the AFI measures state of health and fitness and also evaluates the infrastructure, community assets such as parks, and policies and opportunities that encourage people to stay in shape or get in shape.

“This initiative enhances our health improvement efforts across the country and allows us to be a stronger community partner in the states we serve,” Wesley Wong, MD, national director for WellPoint’s affiliated health plans, says in the release.

Characteristics that nudged Washington to the No. 1 spot included a relatively low smoking rate, a higher than average percentage of people eating the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, and lower than average rates of chronic health concerns, such as obesity, asthma, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The Metropolitan Statistical Areas of Washington-Arlington-Alexandria scored a 73.5 out of a possible 100 points in AFI’s report. The area also came in first in 2009 and 2008.

Other metro areas in the top five were Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Seattle, and Portland, Ore.

Top Fittest Cities in America

Here is how the cities ranked:

Rank                                 Metro Area         2009 Rank

1. Washington, D.C.         73.5                              1

2. Boston                            72.6                              4

3. Minneapolis-St. Paul     71.7                             2

4. Seattle                             70.5                             6

5. Portland, Ore.               70.4                             7

6. Denver                           69.9                             3

7. Sacramento, Calif.       65.8                            12

8. San Francisco               64.7                             5

9. Hartford, Conn.            64.4                            11

10. Austin, Texas              63.9                             9

11. Richmond, Va.            62.7                           NR

12. Cincinnati                    62.5                           14

13. San Diego                    62.0                             8

14. San Jose, Calif.            61.0                          13

15. Salt Lake City             60.6                          NR

16. Atlanta                       57.7                          15

17. Virginia Beach, Va.  57.2                           10

18. Providence, R.I.         57.2                          NR

19. Orlando, Fla.              55.5                          NR

20. Baltimore                   53.5                          19

21. New York                   52.9                          22

22. Raleigh, N.C.              52.4                          20

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

Wet feet on shower floor tile
Slideshow
Flat Abs
Slideshow
 
Build a Better Butt Slideshow
Slideshow
woman using ice pack
Quiz
 

man exercising
Article
7 most effective exercises
Interactive
 
Man looking at watch before workout
Slideshow
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

pilates instructor
Slideshow
jogger running among flowering plants
Video
 
woman walking
Article
Taylor Lautner
Article