If you’re looking for a healthy place to live, Minneapolis-St. Paul is probably a good choice. Despite heavy snow in the winter, it has a relatively high level of exercise–76% of people say they worked out in the last 30 days–and a high number of sports facilities (including the highest number of baseball diamonds per capita: 5.1 per 10,000 people).
The American Fitness Index, published by the American College of Sports Medicine, factors in both the health of the population (health behaviors, chronic disease, etc.) as well as environmental indicators–like recreational facilities, and whether people bike and walk to work–into its rankings. Twenty-six health and physical activity experts decided on the categories. The data is from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Census, among other sources.
A.C.S.M. sees the goal of the index as helping to “improve the health of the nation by promoting active lifestyles by supporting local programming to develop a sustainable, healthy community culture.”
Minneapolis-St. Paul, which also won in 2012 and 2011, scored 78.2 out of 100 total points (up from 76.4 last year). Washington D.C scored 77.7, while Portland came in at 69.8. They all have relatively low rates of diabetes and heart disease, and higher spending on things like parks and tennis courts.
San Francisco (68.7), Denver, Colorado (68.1), Boston (67.1), Sacramento, California (66.8), Seattle (66.7), Hartford, Connecticut (66.6), and San Jose, California (66.4) round out the top 10. (Several, including Seattle and Sacramento, actually lost ground from last year’s survey).
The bottom three are Oklahoma City (31.2), Detroit (33.6), and San Antonio, Texas (31.2). Oklahoma City can blame its score on a relatively high level of smoking and obesity.
The ranking looks at the 50 most populous metropolitan regions, including suburbs as well as the area within city limits (“Metropolitan Statistical Areas“). So “New York,” for example, also includes parts of New Jersey.
Want to check out the full rankings? The fitness index web site has a nice interactive “quick view” feature here.