Arlington, Va. is #1 ‘Fittest City’

2019 American Fitness Index Ranks 100 Cities;
New Indicators Reveal Concerns About Pedestrian Safety and Air Quality

INDIANAPOLIS--()--Arlington, Va. has earned the title of “America’s Fittest City” in the annual American Fitness Index® ranking published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc.

The ACSM/Anthem Fitness Index evaluated America’s 100 largest cities using 33 health behaviors, chronic diseases and community infrastructure indicators. Rounding out the top 10 cities were Seattle, Wash.; Minneapolis, Minn.; San Francisco, Calif.; Madison, Wis.; Washington, D.C.; St. Paul, Minn.; Irvine, Calif. (new to the top 10); Denver, Colo.; and Portland, Ore. You can access the full rankings and scores, summary report, city comparison tool and other insights on the American Fitness Index website.

Setting the standard for other cities, Arlington’s balance of healthy behaviors and community infrastructure earned it the #1 overall rank. Arlington ranked in the top 10 for 22 of the 33 indicators in the ACSM/Anthem Fitness Index, with six indicators ranked #1, including residents exercising in the last month; meeting aerobic and strength activity guidelines; reporting good or excellent health; and having low rates of smoking, poor physical health and pedestrian fatalities. You can compare your city to Arlington or others ranked in the Index by accessing the online City Comparison Tool.

“Our research-backed Fitness Index rankings reveal both personal health habits within a community and how well those communities encourage fitness among their residents. It’s one more way we are working to improve the lives of our communities in which we live and work every day,” said Stephen Friedhoff, MD, chief clinical officer for Anthem. “For example, we added new social determinant of health indicators to this year’s report and learned that some cities have work to do in the areas of pedestrian safety and air quality, which are both critical to overall wellness. Four of the 10 worst cities for pedestrian fatalities are in Florida, and we know air pollution rivals car accidents and tobacco when it comes to causing deaths.”

At the community level, the ACSM/Anthem Fitness Index is used as an assessment and evaluation tool to educate community leaders on the importance of key indicators of physical activity. Leaders can then focus on policy, systems and environmental change strategies that are evidence-based and create sustainability for their community. ACSM and Anthem agree that the Fitness Index provides cities with the data and resources needed to drive healthy change.

“We challenge city leaders, regardless of where their community ranks on the ACSM/Anthem Fitness Index, to take bold and decisive action toward building and maintaining infrastructures that promote fitness,” said Barbara Ainsworth, Ph.D., chair of the American Fitness Index Board and a regents’ professor in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University.

“Chronic diseases, sedentary lifestyles and pedestrian fatalities are at critical levels in our country, and city leadership can effectively address each of these challenges by becoming a fit city,” Ainsworth added.

Additional findings from the 2019 Fitness Index rankings included:

  • 2.2 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents on average across all 100 cities with the worst city, St. Louis, reporting 5.8 pedestrian deaths per 100,000.
  • Nearly half of the 10 deadliest cities for pedestrians are located in Florida: Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and St. Petersburgh.
  • The 21 worst cities for air quality are in California, Arizona and Nevada.
  • Cities have poor air quality an average 38.3 percent of the year.
  • 75.2 percent of adults in all cities were physically active in the previous month on average, with only 51.2 percent meeting aerobic activity guidelines and 22 percent meeting both aerobic and strength guidelines.
  • 97 percent of residents in the top 10 cities are located within a 10-minute walk to a park, but only 66.4 percent are within a 10-minute walk of a park in all 100 cities.
  • An average of 30.3 percent of residents in all 100 cities were diagnosed with high blood pressure, 3.3 percent with heart disease and 2.9 percent were diagnosed with a stroke.
  • Only 4.5 percent of residents in all 100 cities walk or bike to work, and 7.1 percent use public transportation to and from work.

The 2019 ACSM American Fitness Index rankings are as follows:

                                     

Overall
Rank

  City   State  

Overall
Score

         

Overall
Rank

  City   State  

Overall
Score

1   Arlington   VA   87.3           26   Honolulu   HI   59.5
2   Seattle   WA   77.9           27   Los Angeles   CA   59.0
3   Minneapolis   MN   76.4           28   Durham   NC   58.2
4   San Francisco   CA   75.7           29   Chula Vista   CA   58.2
5   Madison   WI   75.3           30   Raleigh   NC   57.7
6   Washington   D.C.   75.1           31   Albuquerque   NM   57.5
7   St. Paul   MN   69.5           32   New York   NY   57.3
8   Irvine   CA   69.4           33   Stockton   CA   56.9
9   Denver   CO   68.4           34   Fremont   CA   56.8
10   Portland   OR   67.8           35   Miami   FL   56.6
11   Oakland   CA   67.7           36   Newark   NJ   56.3
12   San Jose   CA   67.4           37   Anaheim   CA   56.1
13   Boise   ID   66.7           38   Richmond   VA   55.7
14   San Diego   CA   66.7           39   Colorado Springs   CO   55.7
15   Chicago   IL   66.2           40   Aurora   CO   55.1
16   Pittsburgh   PA   66.0           41.5   Orlando   FL   54.5
17   Lincoln   NE   63.2           41.5   Buffalo   NY   54.5
18   Long Beach   CA   62.5           43   Austin   TX   54.0
19   Boston   MA   62.5           44   Plano   TX   53.2
20   Sacramento   CA   61.9           45   Omaha   NE   52.7
21   St. Petersburg   FL   61.6           46   Tampa   FL   52.3
22   Atlanta   GA   61.2           47   Norfolk   VA   52.2
23   Virginia Beach   VA   60.4           48   Nashville   TN   51.3
24   Santa Ana   CA   60.0           49   Reno   NV   50.9
25   Milwaukee   WI   59.7           50   Jersey City   NJ   50.9
                     
                                     

Overall
Rank

  City   State  

Overall
Score

         

Overall
Rank

  City   State  

Overall
Score

51   St. Louis   MO   50.5           76   Garland   TX   40.0
52   Baltimore   MD   50.4           77   Jacksonville   FL   39.4
53   Tucson   AZ   49.7           78   Irving   TX   39.0
54   New Orleans   LA   49.3           79   Baton Rouge   LA   38.5
55   Hialeah   FL   49.1           80   Laredo   TX   37.9
56   Greensboro   NC   48.2           81   Winston-Salem   NC   37.4
57   Cincinnati   OH   47.9           82   San Antonio   TX   36.3
58   Riverside   CA   47.6           83   Gilbert   AZ   36.3
59   Glendale   AZ   47.5           84   Chesapeake   VA   35.8
60   Lubbock   TX   47.4           85   Las Vegas   NV   34.3
61   Dallas   TX   47.4           86   Fort Wayne   IN   34.3
62   Anchorage   AK   46.5           87   Memphis   TN   33.8
63   Philadelphia   PA   46.5           88   Fort Worth   TX   33.0
64   Fresno   CA   46.2           89   Henderson   NV   32.6
65   Cleveland   OH   45.9           90   Wichita   KS   31.6
66   Mesa   AZ   44.3           91   Corpus Christi   TX   31.0
67   Kansas City   MO   43.6           92   Arlington   TX   30.8
68   Chandler   AZ   43.3           93   Detroit   MI   30.5
69   Scottsdale   AZ   43.0           94   Bakersfield   CA   30.3
70   Columbus   OH   42.6           95   Louisville   KY   28.8
71   Phoenix   AZ   41.9           96   Indianapolis   IN   28.6
72   El Paso   TX   41.8           97   Toledo   OH   27.8
73   Houston   TX   41.5           98   Tulsa   OK   27.8
74   Lexington   KY   41.2           99   North Las Vegas   NV   27.2
75   Charlotte   NC   41.1           100   Oklahoma City   OK   20.8
                     

Contacts

Mike Fulton at (301) 651-2508 or
MikeF@asheragency.com (Asher Agency)

Lisa Ramage at (317) 352-3847 or
Lramage@acsm.org (American College of Sports Medicine)

Leslie Porras at (202) 508-7891 or
Leslie.Porras@anthem.com (Anthem Foundation)

Release Summary

Arlington, Va., has earned the title of “America’s Fittest City” in the annual American Fitness Index® ranking.

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Contacts

Mike Fulton at (301) 651-2508 or
MikeF@asheragency.com (Asher Agency)

Lisa Ramage at (317) 352-3847 or
Lramage@acsm.org (American College of Sports Medicine)

Leslie Porras at (202) 508-7891 or
Leslie.Porras@anthem.com (Anthem Foundation)