This week, the annual American Fitness Index was released. Pittsburgh was named the 16th fittest city out of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.
What is the American Fitness Index?
It’s an annual report by the American College of Sports Medicine. The report is designed to help communities identify opportunities to improve the health of their residents and support healthy, active lifestyles.
It grades cities’ preventable health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, health care access, community resources, and policies that support physical activity. The report also includes demographic diversity, economic diversity, and violent crime levels. It also highlights environmental factors like parks, public transportation, playgrounds, swimming pools, walking trails, farmers’ markets, and recreational facilities.
Why is it important?
Being physically active is one of the most important factors for adults and children in improving and maintaining their overall health. Exercise can reduce the risk of premature death, some cancers, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and risk of falls. Engaging children in physical activity early in life can set habits that promote an active lifestyle this reducing health risk as they grow.
How did Pittsburgh earn its ranking?
Pittsburgh’s score of 59.9 puts the city in 16th place. The score was based on some of these factors:
- More farmers’ markets per capita
- Higher percentage of population biking or walking to work
- More dog parks per capita
- More recreational centers per capita
- Higher level of state requirements for physical education classes
- More primary health care providers per capita
- More park units per capita
What is the #1 fittest city?
For the third year in a row, Minneapolis-St. Paul scored the highest (78.2).
Close in second is Washington-Arlington-Alexandria with a score of 77.7. Portland-Vancouver- Hillsboro came in 3rd with 69.8.
How can Pittsburgh close the gap?
It starts with you. Sound the call to action to make activity accessible to all.
I love the trails downtown, and I think that having bike lanes and other incentives for commuters helps create a supportive and active environment. I walk and bike to work all the time — I really love that I can do that safely!
What are your ideas for how Pittsburgh can continue to make activity accessible and improve the health of its residents? Leave your comments below!