10 fittest (and unhealthiest) cities in America

Where you choose to live may have a big impact your physical health

(Shutterstock.com)

Residents of Aurora, Colo., take a bow – and then a brisk walk in your local park. Aurora was ranked No. 1 on a new survey, the “Fit Cities Index” of 85 metro areas around the U.S. carried out by BetterDoctor.com, a website that helps people find the right doctors. Aurora has $126 in park expenditure per resident, 31.4 acres of park per 1,000 residents, 43% of residents at a healthy weight and nearly 84% who have exercised within the past 30 days, scoring 75.21 out of a possible 100 on the index. It was followed by San Francisco, Oakland, Albuquerque, and Seattle.

10 most fit cities

City Park expenditure per resident Park acres per 1,000 residents % of residents at a healthy weight % of residents who have exercised in the past 30 days Fit cities index score
Aurora, Colorado $126 31.4 43.00% 83.80% 75.21
San Francisco, California $263 6.6 44.80% 82.60% 73.56
Oakland, California $137 14.5 44.80% 82.60% 72.29
Albuquerque, New Mexico $72 32.7 43.30% 82.00% 70.92
Seattle, Washington $255 9 42.30% 83.40% 70.91
Denver, Colorado $146 9.7 43.00% 83.80% 70.5
Portland, Oregon $151 24.6 40.30% 84.20% 69.96
Sacramento, California $133 10.9 40.90% 84.70% 68.41
Irvine, California $149 36.5 43.10% 78.90% 66.83
San Diego, California $106 35.9 41.20% 81.00% 66.47

The lowest (No. 85) on the list was Laredo, Texas, with a score of just 1.9 out of 100. It has only 6.9 acres of park per 1,000 residents, $3 park expenditure per resident, 29% of residents at a healthy weight and 66% who have exercised within the past 30 days. Other cities ranked in the bottom five were Memphis, Tenn., Birmingham, Ala., Detroit, and Lubbock, Texas. Other big cities hovered somewhere in between: Los Angeles – known for both its fitness and car culture – only ranked No. 36 on the index, followed by New York City (No. 39) and Chicago (No. 42).

The culture of a city also plays a role. Five out of the top 10 cities were in California. Aurora has more than 100 parks and San Francisco has over 220 parks. However, five of the bottom cities on the list are in Texas, partly because most people need cars to get around, which can be bad for your health and contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. People who drive 16 miles or more to work tend to weigh more and have higher blood pressure, according to a 2012 survey of 4,300 commuters from Texas-Fort Worth published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and those who commuted 16 to 20 miles are over 50% more likely to be obese.

10 least fit cities

City Park expenditure per resident Park acres per 1,000 residents % of residents at a healthy weight % of residents who have exercised in the past 30 days Fit cities index score
Fort Wayne, Indiana $66 9.4 30.90% 76.60% 30.35
Fort Worth, Texas $79 16 30.30% 76.00% 29.86
Arlington, Texas $80 12.3 30.30% 76.00% 29
El Paso, Texas $34 46.6 30.20% 71.50% 26.37
Tulsa, Oklahoma $31 19.4 33.60% 70.80% 24.69
Lubbock, Texas $48 9.8 35.30% 69.30% 22.85
Detroit, Michigan $25 6.5 32.90% 71.70% 22.03
Birmingham, Alabama $1 10.4 33.70% 70.80% 21.97
Memphis, Tennessee $26 13.5 28.90% 73.90% 20.85
Laredo, Texas $3 6.9 29.10% 65.80% 1.92

The Fit Cities Index was calculated over four measurements that crunched park expenditure per resident and park acres per 1,000 residents (collectively making up 30% of the overall score), and also included the percentage of residents at a healthy weight (30% of the overall score) and percentage of residents who’ve exercised within the last 30 days (40% of the overall score). The index used data from the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit organization that helps create parks and public spaces.


By Quentin Fottrell from MarketWatch on Feb. 23, 2015.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s