(Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images)
A new report has ranked the fittest cities in America, and there’s some bad news: Irving fared pretty poorly. The American College of Sports Medicine on Tuesday released its annual fittest cities rankings. The researchers assessed the 100 largest cities based on 33 indicators related to health behaviors, chronic disease and community infrastructure.
Irving was ranked the 78th fittest in the country, just ahead of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and behind Jacksonville, Florida. That includes a rank of 70 for personal health and 70.5 for community and environment.
Meanwhile Arlington, Virginia, earned the title of fittest city in America. The authors highlighted Arlington’s balance of both healthy behaviors and community infrastructure. The Northern Virginia city ranked in the top 10 for 22 of the 33 indicators in the index, with six claiming a No. 1 spot.
Nearby Washington, D.C. also claimed a spot in the top 10, along with both of Minnesota’s Twin Cities and two California cities.Here are the 10 fittest cities in America, according to the report:
Arlington, VA Seattle, WA Minneapolis, MN San Francisco, CA Madison, WI Washington, D.C. St. Paul, MN Irvine, CA Denver, CO Portland, OR
The fitness rankings show a community’s personal health habits and how well officials encourage people to stay fit, Stephen Friedhoff, chief clinical officer for the Anthem Foundation, which funded the report, said in a news release.
"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," said Friedhoff. "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."
Regular exercise can lower an adult’s risk of an early death, the researchers said, as well as for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer and even risk of falls. It can be just as beneficial for peoples’ mental well-being, the report said, and housing values can increase the more run-, walk- and bike-friendly a community is.
Among the report’s other key findings: California, Arizona and Nevada were home to the 21 cities with the worst air quality; on average, 75 percent of adults in all cities were physically active in the previous month; and 97 percent of residents in the top 10 fittest cities were located within a 10-minute walk to a park.
Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report.