Get free tips to make change and create your best life

How Healthy is Your City? The ACSM American Fitness Index

BostonI just learned that Boston ranked #3 in the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) American Fitness Index for 2012. In short, it is the third “healthiest” metropolitan area in the country. After just learning how healthy Boston is for one’s skin, this news has made my week. I’m honestly amazed that Boston ranks higher than some of the assumed cities of great health: Austin, TX; Denver, Colorado; Portland, Oregon. It feels pretty good!

The ACSM American Fitness Index report looked at the 50 largest metropolitan areas of the country and ranked each on their “health” by looking at the following criteria:

Personal Health Indicators:

  • Healthy Behaviors (Physical activity, smoking, basic nutritional habits)
  • Chronic Health Problems (Obesity rates, mental health, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, death rates from chronic disease)
  • Numbers of Health Insured Residents

Community / Environmental Indicators:

  • Built Environment (Parkland areas, Farmers’ Markets, Park Related Expenditures, Percentage walking or biking to work, public transportation)
  • Recreational Facilities (Ball parks, dog parks, park playgrounds, golf courses, park units, recreational centers, swimming pools and tennis courts)
  • Policy for School P.E.
  • Availability for Primary Care (number of primary care providers)

Based on an assessment of the above indicators, the ranking of the 50 largest metropolitan areas are as follows:


  1. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
  2. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  3. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH
  4. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
  5. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT
  6. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA
  7. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
  8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  9. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO
  10. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
  11. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC
  12. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  13. Salt Lake City, UT
  14. Raleigh-Cary, NC
  15. Pittsburgh, PA
  16. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
  17. Richmond, VA
  18. Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA
  19. Baltimore-Towson, MD
  20. Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN
  21. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
  22. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
  23. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH
  24. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
  25. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
  26. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
  27. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
  28. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI
  29. Kansas City, MO-KS
  30. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
  31. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
  32. Saint Louis, MO-IL
  33. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC
  34. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
  35. Jacksonville, FL
  36. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
  37. New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA
  38. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
  39. Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
  40. Columbus, OH
  41. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL
  42. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
  43. Indianapolis-Carmel, IN
  44. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
  45. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
  46. Birmingham-Hoover, AL
  47. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  48. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
  49. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI
  50. Oklahoma City, OK

My husband and I have been considering a move to North Carolina for some time now. It makes me sad to think that we could be moving from a rather very healthy area to a so-so healthy area. Although in my line of work, I see this as a good opportunity to drive some change!

Where does your city stack up? How do you feel about it?

To view the whole report, go to:

Share this!

Like what you see? Sign up for updates...It's FREE!

Sign up here
Posted in Brett's Blog, Fitness, Mind-Body, Nutrition