For the second consecutive year, Minneapolis-St. Paul is the healthiest, fittest metropolitan area in the United States, according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) annual American Fitness Index™ (AFI).
Made possible by a grant from the WellPoint Foundation, the 2012 AFI data report, “Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas,” evaluated the most populous city areas to identify the healthiest and fittest places in the United States. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington achieved a high score of 76.4 (out of 100 possible points) to capture the top ranking.
The AFI data report reflects a composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, health care access and community resources and policies that support physical activity. New to the 2012 AFI data report is a benchmark for each data indicator to help identify areas that need improvement.
“Although many people will gravitate to which cities are fit or less fit, it’s important to remember that there is room for improvement in every community,” added Thompson. “It’s also worth noting that even the lowest-ranked areas have healthy residents and community resources that support health and fitness.”
To assist with measurement and to provide a baseline measure of health and fitness status, ACSM worked with the Indiana University School of Family Medicine and a panel of 26 health and physical activity experts on the methodology of the AFI data report. Researchers analyzed the data gleaned from U.S. Census data, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), The Trust for the Public Land City Park Facts and other existing research data in order to give a scientific, accurate snapshot of the health and fitness status at a metropolitan level.
The data examined fall into two categories:
- Personal health indicators
- Community and environmental indicators