Washington, D.C., is the fittest city in the United States for the third straight year, a new report shows.
Minneapolis-St. Paul came in second and Denver moved up from sixth last year to third this year, the report said.
The top three cities for 2016 showed increases in walking by residents using public transit, more parkland for physical activity, and lower rates of diabetes and heart problems. The lower smoking rate in the nation’s capital gave it the edge over the second- and third-place cities, the researchers said.
The cities with the lowest rankings were Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and Louisville, according to the ninth annual American Fitness Index (AFI). The report was developed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation. The report includes the surrounding metro areas when assessing cities.
Between 2015 and 2016, total fitness scores rose for 30 cities, but fell for 19, according to the report. Those with the largest drops included Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Sacramento and San Diego.
From last year to this year, there was a nearly 12 percent increase in the number of city dwellers who said they exercised in the last 30 days. There was a 5 percent decline in people who smoked, and a 7 percent fall in diabetes-related deaths. There was also a 5 percent increase in total park expenditure per resident.
In 2016, twice as many states had policies requiring physical education to be taught at elementary, middle or high schools, the report noted.
However, there was a 7 percent increase in the number of city residents diagnosed with diabetes. There was also an almost 8 percent increase in the number diagnosed with angina.
“Our overarching goal is to offer communities and residents resources that can help them assess, plan and implement measures for a quality, healthier life,” AFI advisory board chair Walter Thompson said in an ACSM news release.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.