D.C. tops list of nation's fittest cities

Indianapolis, IN The rankings were compiled by the American Fitness Index (AFI), a publication released by the American College of Sports Medicine and sponsored by the WellPoint Foundation.

The other cities that came in the top five this year were Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, Boston and San Francisco, respectively.

The index ranks 45 cities based on 30 indicators, including percentage of residents with certain diseases, the number of acres of parkland, the death rate from cardiovascular disease, the number of primary care providers per capita and the percent of residents who leave their cars at home and bicycle or walk to work.

The cities that made the bottom of this year's list included Houston, Las Vegas, Detroit and Birmingham, Alabama.

Oklahoma City came in last, performing poorly in just about every category. The AFI report found that the death rate per 100,000 patients with cardiovascular disease in Oklahoma City was 289 compared to the average of 223. The index also detailed that only 17 percent of Oklahoma City residents eat five or more fruits and vegetables per day compared to the national average of 24 percent.

According to the index, Washington, D.C. residents are healthier than Americans living in any other city for several reasons. AFI found that in the nation's capital, fewer residents smoke, fewer have diabetes and almost 90 percent have health insurance. People living in D.C. also have increased access to farmers' markets.

Five other California cities made the list this year. San Diego cracked the top ten, coming in at number 8. Sacramento ranked 12th, San Jose was 13th, Los Angeles was 30th, and Riverside came in at number 40.

The AFI report detailed several strengths and weaknesses for Los Angeles. The city's strengths included low percentages of asthma, diabetes and disability, as well as a higher number of people who commute to work by walking or using bicycles.

Los Angeles also had its share of weak points. Among them were a lower number of primary care providers per capita, not enough city land being used for parks per capita, and a higher percentage of mental health issues.

Top 10 Fittest Cities:

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Minneapolis-St. Paul
  3. Denver
  4. Boston
  5. San Francisco
  6. Seattle
  7. Portland
  8. San Diego
  9. Austin
  10. Virginia Beach

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