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With support and funding from the WellPoint Foundation, the American College of Sports Medicine launched the ACSM American Fitness Index program in 2008 to help communities identify opportunities to improve the health of their residents and expand community assets to better support active, healthy lifestyles.

arrow Download the full report for 2011 with statistics on individual metro areas (pdf 1.5 mb)


ACSM American Fitness Index Program and Report for 2011

The “Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas“ report for 2011 studies the fitness of 50 American cities. The American College of Sports Medicine report, produced in partnership with the WellPoint Foundation, is a snapshot of the state of health and fitness in America’s most populous metropolitan areas. Cities that ranked near the top of the index have several strengths that support healthy living and few challenges that hinder it. The opposite is true for cities near the bottom of the index.

The AFI reflects a composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, health care access, as well as community resources and policies that support physical activity. In addition, demographic diversity, economic diversity and violent crime levels are included for each metropolitan area to illustrate the unique attributes of each city. Communities with the highest AFI scores are considered to have strong community fitness, a concept analogous to individuals having strong personal fitness. The AFI was developed to assist communities in their efforts to improve the quality of life and well-being of their residents. The 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget using data from the U.S. Census Annual Estimates of Population, were included in this 2011 data report for the AFI program. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) were chosen as the unit of measurement because they represent the group of counties comprising the urban areas where residents live, work and access community resources.

The metropolitan rankings included in the report are:

Photo of many people on trail

Austin's trail system receives high use (photo by Stuart Macdonald)

1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
2. Washington, D.C.
3. Boston, Mass.
4. Portland, Ore.
5. Denver, Colo.
6. San Francisco, Calif.
7. Hartford, Conn.
8. Seattle, Wash.
9. Virginia Beach, Va.
10. Sacramento, Calif.
11. San Jose, Calif.
12. Richmond, Va.
13. San Diego, Calif.
14. Cincinnati, Ohio
15. Salt Lake City, Utah
16. Austin-Round Rock, TX
17. Pittsburgh, Pa.
18. Atlanta, Ga.
19. Providence, R.I.
20. Baltimore, Md.
21. Milwaukee, Wisc.
22. Kansas City, Mo./Kan.
23. Buffalo, N.Y.
24. Raleigh, N.C.
25. Cleveland, Ohio
26. St. Louis, Mo.
27. Philadelphia, Pa.
28. Chicago, Ill.
29. Orlando, Fla.
30. New York, N.Y.
31. Jacksonville, Fla.
32. Phoenix, Ariz.
33. San Antonio, Texas
34. New Orleans, LA
35. Miami, Fla.
36. Charlotte, N.C.
37. Nashville, Tenn.
38. Columbus, Ohio
39. Dallas, Texas
40. Tampa, Fla.
41. Los Angeles, Calif.
42. Houston, Texas
43. Las Vegas, Nev.
44. Riverside, Calif.
45. Indianapolis, Ind.
46. Detroit, Mich.
47. Birmingham, Ala.
48. Memphis, Tenn.
49. Louisville, Ky.
50. Oklahoma City, Okla.

Factors in the ratings included "Community/environmental indicators." The category of "Recreational Facilities" included Dog Parks and Golf Courses, but not trails or bikeways. Under the category of "Built Environment" are statistics for:

Overall, the goal of the AFI program is to help improve the health of the nation by promoting active lifestyles through local programming and developing a sustainable, healthy community culture. To accomplish this goal, community leaders and health planners need to be aware of their community’s health status and behaviors; key indicators, such as obesity and chronic disease rates and number of health care providers, related to physical inactivity; built environment and resources; and policies that support a healthy community. The AFI program is specifically designed to provide this data and other valuable assistance to cities to further their efforts to improve the health and quality of life of residents, promote healthier lifestyles and encourage community resource development to support physical activity.

arrow Download the full report for 2011 with statistics on individual metro areas (pdf 1.5 mb)


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