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Health & Fit Where is the fittest city in America?

02:45  16 may  2018
02:45  16 may  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

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Arlington has been named the fittest city in America , according to the 2018 American Fitness Index ranking from the American College of Sports Medicine. The Northern Virginia jurisdiction eeked out a win over last year’s champ, Minneapolis, by just a half point, with an overall score of 77.7.

Arlington, Va. is the fittest city in the country, edging out Minneapolis, Minn. by half a point. USA TODAY.

What has the lowest smoking rate in the country, a wealth of farmers markets, a system of well-established parks — and now a reputation as a hot spot for health?

Arlington, Va. — Washington, D.C's next-door neighbor along the Potomac River— which was named the fittest city in the U.S. on Tuesday by the 2018 American Fitness Index report from the American College of Sports Medicine.

The 11th annual ACSM fitness index awarded the urban hub the top ranking thanks to residents' healthy behaviors. The city’s relatively low smoking rate of 5.9% pales in comparison to the 15% average of the 100 largest cities.

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A city known for a love of hiking, biking and other outdoor activities – even when severe winter weather threatens – is the fittest city in the United States, according to a new ranking (MORE: The Least Bike-Friendly Cities in America ). Personal health indicators include things such as rates of obesity

The report shows that most Americans don't meet the CDC's recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate activity each week and twice-weekly — Washington, D.C's next-door neighbor along the Potomac River— which was named the fittest city in the U.S. on Tuesday by the 2018 American

Close behind Arlington was Minneapolis and the nation's capital, which took the honors in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The index for the first time ranked the 100 largest cities, instead of the 50 largest metropolitan areas. Rankings are based off cities’ overall scores, which include data on fitness, nutrition, chronic disease, smoking, mental health, access to parks and public transportation. 

“I’m not the least bit surprised,” said Arlington resident Kirk Anderson, who strolls the trails weekly at Theodore Roosevelt Island, a wooded park in the Potomac River that splits Arlington and Washington, D.C. “People are running and biking everywhere all the time. And there’s lots of good, healthy food around here.”

Anderson’s wife, Virginia Navarro, and their daughter, Danielle Anderson-Navarro, a high school lacrosse player, all agreed Arlington was noticeably more active than Miami Beach and Boston, where they lived before moving to Arlington seven years ago.

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Millions of Americans are trying to live healthier lives, but some cities are more fitness-friendly than others, according to the ninth annual American Fitness Index compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation. The report ranks the 50 biggest U.S. cities on a range

Arlington, Va. is the fittest city in the country, edging out Minneapolis, Minn. by half a point. USA TODAY.

“You can walk everywhere here because of the Metro,” said Danielle, referring to the areas's subway system, as she practiced her photography amid the dense forest on the island.

Second-ranked Minneapolis — just a half point behind Arlington — benefits from successful collaboration between parks, schools and recreation centers, the report said. 

Some cities exceed national averages for fitness, but the report shows that most Americans don't meet the Centers for Disease Control recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate activity each week and twice-weekly strength training.

While more than 75% of Americans reported being physically active within the last month, only about half of American adults meet aerobic activity guidelines. And less than a quarter meet both aerobic and strength guidelines.

“Encouraging exercise such as community walking programs and bicycling programs can help communities stem the rising tide of obesity,” said Barbara Ainsworth, chair of ACSM and professor at Arizona State University.

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Washington D.C. tops the American College of Sports Medicine's annual ranking for the second year in a row. On the flip side, the five least healthy cities in descending order are Louisville, Kentucky; San Antonio; Oklahoma City ; Memphis, Tennessee; and Indianapolis.

The American Fit Index judges metro areas on the health of their residents, taking into account measures like heart disease, diabetes, and smoking, as well as community resources that support an active society, such as per capita park expenditures. News. And the Fittest City in America Is

Madison, Wis., residents are the most active, according to the report: More than 90% said they exercised regularly. But Boise has the biggest percentage of residents who meet aerobic fitness standards (63.9%), and Plano, Texas, has the most residents who meet both aerobic and strength guidelines (31.4%).

Our diets could also stand to improve. The CDC recommends that adults eat about 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables daily, but that’s not reality for most Americans. The fitness index report found that just 30% of adults eat enough fruit, and a measly 18% eat enough vegetables.

“Having farmer’s markets is an easy way to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to communities for people who can improve their diet,” Ainsworth said.

The American Fitness Index can help inspire change in a city, Ainsworth said. Several cities, including Phoenix where she lives, encourage community health as a result of the rankings. She said the local governments in the top 50 cities generally promote healthy behavior more than those in the bottom 50 cities.

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According to the latest American Fitness Index, Washington, D.C. is the most fit city in the country, retaining its title for a second year in a row. This year is the first time it has included a look at what percentage of a city 's population lives within a 10-minute walk of a park space.

The report shows that most Americans don't meet the CDC's recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate activity each week and twice-weekly — Washington, D.C's next-door neighbor along the Potomac River— which was named the fittest city in the U.S. on Tuesday by the 2018 American

“Every city has strengths and has something to celebrate,” Ainsworth said. “And every city has shortcomings.”

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