© 2023 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Wanna Go To Fit City? List Ranks America's 50 Fittest Metro Areas

People exercise along the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; the metro area was ranked as America's fittest city for the second year in a row.
Andrew Harnik
The Washington Times/Landov
People exercise along the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; the metro area was ranked as America's fittest city for the second year in a row.

The new American Fitness Index is out, with some good news and bad news. Five metro areas fell five or more slots; nine others rose by five or more places. The rankings tally several criteria, from rates of smoking, diabetes and obesity to access to parks.

For the second consecutive year, the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area took the top spot among the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Second place went to Minneapolis-St. Paul, and San Diego was third (full rankings at end of post).

The three cities at the bottom of the list, in descending order: Oklahoma City; Memphis; Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson.

Beyond the metropolitan breakdown, the folks behind the study that was released by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation say they found some mixed signs of the nation's health:

"The AFI reveals a troubling 11.3 percent drop in the percentage of individuals who exercised in the last 30 days, and a 7.8 percent increase in the diabetes death rates from 2014 to 2015. The AFI ranking also notes a 5.5 percent drop in those who eat enough fruit each day. Five metro areas dropped significantly in the rankings, falling five or more positions."

Here are the full rankings and score (click each city to see the AFI's rationale):

  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: 79.6
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI: 75.6 (tie)
  • San Diego-Carlsbad, CA: 75.6 (tie)
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: 72.6
  • Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA: 71.4
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO: 71.1
  • Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA: 69.6
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA: 68.5
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH: 68.1
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: 65.9
  • Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT: 64.8
  • Salt Lake City, UT: 61.9
  • Raleigh, NC: 60.1
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA: 57.5 (tie)
  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 57.5 (tie)
  • Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN: 56.4
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI: 56.3
  • Richmond, VA: 55.0
  • Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD: 54.5
  • Austin-Round Rock, TX: 54.2
  • Pittsburgh, PA: 53.0
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD: 52.5
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA: 52.0
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: 50.9
  • Cleveland-Elyria, OH: 50.5 (tie)
  • Kansas City, MO-KS 50.5 (tie)
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL: 50.2
  • Providence-Warwick, RI-MA: 49.4
  • Saint Louis, MO-IL: 48.1
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL: 47.5
  • Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV: 47.4
  • Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY: 47.3
  • Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI: 46.8
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA: 44.8
  • Jacksonville, FL: 43.5
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL: 42.7
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: 41.1
  • Columbus, OH: 41.0
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: 39.8
  • Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI: 39.0
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX: 38.8
  • New Orleans-Metairie, LA: 38.6
  • Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC: 37.4
  • Birmingham-Hoover, AL: 34.5
  • Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN: 33.0
  • Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN: 32.1
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX: 32.0
  • Oklahoma City, OK: 29.6
  • Memphis, TN-MS-AR: 27.3
  • Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN: 26.8
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
    A special thanks to those who helped us unlock $50,000 this past Giving Tuesday. If you haven't supported the news reporting of this station yet, now is the best time to give. Support your favorite community public station today.