Arlington, you’re fit. The 2023 American Fitness Index, an annual report published by the American College of Sports and Medicine and the Elevance Health Foundation, named Arlington the fittest “city” in the country for the sixth consecutive year. Washington, DC, followed at No. 2.
The researchers compared the 100 largest cities in the U.S. using 34 fitness indicators in two categories: personal health and community health.
The personal health indicators include things that relate to an individual’s habits and overall health, such as exercise, sleep, and nutritional habits, as well as how many people have conditions, including asthma, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Community health indicators relate to more systemic environmental factors, such as the air quality, the number of parks and playgrounds, and how many residents are experiencing food insecurity.
Arlington topped the list in both personal and community health rankings. The report notes that Arlington had the highest percentage of residents who exercised in the last 30 days, the lowest percentage of residents with diabetes, no pedestrian fatalities, and tied for the highest percentage of residents who live within a 10-minute walk to a park.
DC ranked No. 7 in personal health and No. 3 in community health.
The researchers who conducted the study stressed the importance of exercise in their report, noting the correlation between a lack of exercise and chronic diseases.
“No city is immune to chronic disease, but fortunately, every city and every person can take positive steps toward creating healthier lifestyles,” said Shantanu Agrawal, chief health officer of Elevance Health. “Getting sufficient physical activity could prevent one in 12 cases of diabetes, one in 15 cases of heart disease and one in 10 premature deaths.”
ACSM recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, and muscle-strengthening activity at least twice a week. While 78 percent of adults reported exercising in the last month, only 51 percent met the aerobic activity guidelines and only 24 percent met both the aerobic and strength recommendations.
The study also indicated that impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are still present around the country, and that “the full impact may not be known for decades.”
The top 10 fittest cities:
- Arlington, Virginia
- Irvine, California
- Madison, Wisconsin
- San Francisco
- St. Paul, Minnesota
- Oakland, California
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