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Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington tops 2013 American Fitness Index

A biker holding his hood over his face during a driving snow plows on in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. on on March 31, 2008.
Brian Peterson,AP Photo/Star Tibune

Where's the fittest city to live in America? Travel to the Twin Cities for the answer.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) announced Wednesday that Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington topped the sixth annual American Fitness Index data report. The list ranks the 50 larger metropolitan areas in the U.S. based on a composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, and the amount of health care access, community resources like parks and policies that support physical activity.

The data was compiled and analyzed by ACSM, the Indiana University School of Family Medicine and a panel of 26 health and physical activity experts.

"We have issued the American Fitness Index each year since 2008 to help health advocates and community leader advocates improve the quality of life in their hometowns," Walter Thompson, chair of the AFI Advisory Board, said in a press release. "As urban areas attract more and more residents, it's imperative for cities to create a built environment, fund amenities and form policies that get residents active and encourage healthy lifestyles."

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington received the highest fitness score of 78.2 out of 100, which represents a 2-point increase from its 2012 score. This metro area has received the top place for three consecutive years.

The area excelled because of higher percentages of at least moderately physically-active citizens, city lands designated as park areas, use of public transportation for work and use of bicycling or walking to work. The Twin Cities also had lower rates of angina or coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

However, Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington still has room for improvement in measures of eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, lowering their smoking rates and increasing their parkland and swimming pools per capita. Residents scored less than 20 percent of their target goals in these areas.

Rounding out the top five fittest metro areas were: Washington D.C., Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Calif. and Denver, Colo. The cities were ranked second, seventh, fourth and ninth respectively in 2012.

The bottom five cities of the 50 metro areas were: Indianapolis, Ind.; Louisville, Ky.; San Antonio, Texas; Detroit, Mich.; and Oklahoma City, Okla. Oklahoma City, which received a score of 31.2 this year, and was also last place in 2012.

The rankings were further divided into personal health indicators and community health indicators. When just looking at personal health, Washington D.C. was number one and New Orleans, La. was in last place. The honor for best community health went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and the bottom spot belonged to Miami, Fla.

For more on the American Fitness Index, visit the official website.