DC Area Tops Index of Fit and Healthy Cities

DC Region Tops Index of 50 Healthiest Cities

By Pat Lawson Muse
|  Monday, May 24, 2010  |  Updated 7:16 PM EDT
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How fit is your city? If you live in the Washington, D.C., area, the answer is fit enough to rank at the top of a pretty interesting index.

The American College of Sports Medicine has released the results of its annual fitness index. It takes a scientific snapshot of health and fitness levels in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. And we're No.1.

The index looks at various indicators that measure health and quality of life. It ranked the Washington area as No. 1 due to factors like a lower percent of unemployed residents, lower percentage of people living below the poverty line and higher income.

Not only does the index show there are more wealthy, working residents in the nation’s capital, they also are healthier. The Washington metro area stood out among cities with a higher percentage of people who eat at least five servings of fruits and veggies per day, as well as lower rates of heart disease, obesity and death from diabetes. There are more farmer’s markets, more people who bike or walk to work, more parks, pools, recreation centers and tennis courts per capita.

However, among negatives noted about the nation’s capital -- fewer golf courses and dog parks per capita.

Ranking last in the 50-city index is Oklahoma City, with a lower percent of unemployed residents but higher rates of poverty, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and smoking. The index also cited the city for having fewer pools, parks and baseball diamonds per capita.

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