Minneapolis, Denver, and Boston also rank high in the annual American Fitness Index report
THURSDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Among America's 50 most heavily populated metropolitan regions, Washington, D.C. ranks first in measures of community health and fitness, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), held from May 27 to 30 in Seattle.
Walt Thompson, Ph.D., the ACSM's American Fitness Index advisory board chair, and colleagues based their list on population characteristics such as diet, exercise, smoking, and access to health care, as well as regional characteristics such as available park space, exercise facilities, and public policies that support physical activity. They also identified ways in which each region can improve its measures of health and fitness.
They found that the four top-scoring regions were Washington, D.C., Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, and Boston. They found that the four lowest-scoring regions were Las Vegas, Birmingham (Ala.), Detroit, and Oklahoma City.
"ACSM believes that researching and understanding the scope of the problem is the first step toward developing programs, initiatives and policies to increase physical activity," Thompson said in a statement. "The data evaluated for this report will help identify each metropolitan area's strengths and weaknesses."