Annual report card scores health of U.S. cities

The American College of Sports Medicine this week released their annual American Fitness Index report of the 50 healthiest cities in the U.S.

The report, now in its seventh year, ranks cities based on a number of factors including preventive health behaviors, rates of chronic health conditions, access to health care, as well as community resources and policies that encourage physical activity.

This year's top three ranked cities are Washington, D.C., Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minn. and Portland, Ore.

The three lowest ranking are Oklahoma City, Okla., Louisville, Ky. and Memphis, Tenn.

For the report, the researchers analyzed data from the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Management and Budget. The Center for City Park Excellence and the Trust for Public Land also provided community and environmental data. The researchers also culled data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture State Report Cards, which is another report by the CDC and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The authors generated the scores -- from 1 to 100 -- with a specially designed algorithmic formula used in prior reports.

From the data, 31 different indicators were identified including death rates from a number of chronic health conditions such as diabetes; number of golf courses, parks, swimming pools, recreation centers and tennis courts per capita; health behaviors including smoking, obesity, exercise habits and consumption of fruits and vegetables; and environmental factors such as pollution, availability of public transportation, bike lanes and crime rates.

Out of a perfect score of 100, the top-ranking city Washington, D.C. scored 77.3; Minneapolis scored 73.5; and Portland scored 72.1.

The lowest scores? Memphis got only 24.8; Louisville 25.7; and Oklahoma City just 31.6.

California proved to be one of the healthiest states, with San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego all making the top 10.

Here are the top 10 healthiest metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to the American College of Sports Medicine. View the entire list to see how your hometown measures up.

  • 1. Washington, D.C. metro area
  • 2. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
  • 3. Portland, Ore.
  • 4. Denver, Colo.
  • 5. San Francisco, Calif.
  • 6. San Jose, Calif.
  • 7. Seattle, Wash.
  • 8. San Diego, Calif.
  • 9. Boston, Mass.
  • 10. Sacramento, Calif.

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