Well, the data is out, and for the second consecutive year, Washington D.C. has been declared to be the “fittest City” in America. In the second annual American Fitness Index (AFI), a publication released by the American College of Sports Medicine, Washington, D.C., edged out Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., Denver, Boston and San Francisco.
The index ranks 45 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs)–a geographical measurement defined by the U.S. Census Bureau used by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics–that include the city and surrounding suburban area. It measures each city’s performance on 30 indicators, including acres of parkland, death rate from cardiovascular disease, the number of primary care physicians per capita and the percent of residents who bicycle or walk to work. The metrics were gathered from government and non-profit organizations. (For the complete methodology, visit www.americanfitnessindex.org.)
According to the index, Washington, D.C., residents are healthier than other Americans for a number of reasons. They have increased access to farmers’ markets, at 13 per 1 million residents, compared to a national average of 11. Fewer residents smoke and have diabetes, and nearly 90% have health insurance compared to a national average of 86%.
I have always wondered who all those people are I see riding bikes along he Potomac and jogging around the National Mall when I am visiting the nation’s capital. I always thought they were tourists. But, now I must assume that they are local residents doing what D.C. residents do best – staying fit. Way to go Washington!