Lists

Ten Fittest U.S. Cities — and Denver's Falling Score


Last year around this time, we shared the results of the 2014 American Fitness Index.

In it, Denver came in fourth — a fine finish, if not quite as good as its performance in a Sharecare.com survey on the same subject published earlier that year.

In the latter, Denver was number one, prompting us to wonder after seeing the AFI results if the Mile High City was getting flabbier.

This question is current again given the recent release of the 2015 American Fitness Index.

No, Denver doesn't finish first, or fourth. Think lower.

Count down the top ten below, featuring rankings, data, goals and more, followed by the complete 2015 American Fitness Index.

Number 1: Washington, D.C.
(Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA)
Total Score = 79.6; Rank = 1
Areas of Excellence (at or better than target goal):
• Lower percent with angina or coronary heart disease
• Lower death rate for cardiovascular disease
• Lower death rate for diabetes
• Higher percent of city land area as parkland
• More farmers’ markets per capita
• Higher percent using public transportation to work
• Higher percent bicycling or walking to work
• Higher Walk Score®
• Higher percent of population within a 10 minute walk to a park
• More dog parks per capita
• More park units per capita
• More recreation centers per capita
• More swimming pools per capita
• More tennis courts per capita
• Higher park-related expenditures per capita
Improvement Priority Areas (worse than 20% of target goal):
• Lower percent meeting CDC aerobic activity guidelines
• Higher percent with asthma
• Higher percent with diabetes
• Fewer acres of parkland per capita
• Fewer golf courses per capita

Number 2: MINNEAPOLIS, MN
(Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA)
Total Score = 75.6; Rank = 2
Areas of Excellence (at or better than target goal):
• Lower death rate for cardiovascular disease
• Higher percent of city land area as parkland
• More farmers’ markets per capita
• Higher percent using public transportation to work
• Higher percent bicycling or walking to work
• Higher Walk Score®
• Higher percent of population within a 10 minute walk to a park
• More ball diamonds per capita
• More dog parks per capita
• More park playgrounds per capita
• More golf courses per capita
• More park units per capita
• More recreation centers per capita
• More tennis courts per capita
• Higher park-related expenditures per capita
Improvement Priority Areas (worse than 20% of target goal):
• Lower percent consuming 3+ vegetables per day
• Fewer acres of parkland per capita
• Fewer swimming pools per capita
• Lower level of state requirement for Physical Education classes

Number 3: San Diego, CA
(San Diego-Carlsbad, CA MSA)
Total Score = 75.6 Rank = 3
Areas of Excellence (at or better than target goal):
• Higher percent meeting CDC aerobic activity guidelines
• Higher percent meeting both CDC aerobic and strength activity guidelines
• Higher percent consuming 2+ fruits per day
• Higher percent consuming 3+ vegetables per day
• Lower percent currently smoking
• Lower percent obese
• Lower death rate for cardiovascular disease
• Higher percent of city land area as parkland
• More acres of parkland per capita
• More farmers’ markets per capita
• Higher percent bicycling or walking to work
• Higher percent of population within a 10 minute walk to a park
• More ball diamonds per capita
• More dog parks per capita
• More recreation centers per capita
• Higher park-related expenditures per capita
• Higher level of state requirement for Physical Education classes
Improvement Priority Areas (worse than 20% of target goal):
• Higher percent with asthma
• Higher percent with diabetes
• Lower percent using public transportation to work
• Fewer golf courses per capita
• Fewer swimming pools per capita
• Fewer tennis courts per capita

Number 4: San Francisco, CA
(San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA MSA)
Total Score = 72.6; Rank = 4
Areas of Excellence (at or better than target goal):
• Higher percent consuming 3+ vegetables per day
• Lower percent currently smoking
• Lower percent obese
• Lower percent with angina or coronary heart disease
• Lower death rate for cardiovascular disease
• Lower death rate for diabetes
• Higher percent of city land area as parkland
• More farmers’ markets per capita
• Higher percent using public transportation to work
• Higher percent bicycling or walking to work
• Higher Walk Score®
• Higher percent of population within a 10 minute walk to a park
• More dog parks per capita
• Higher park-related expenditures per capita
• Higher level of state requirement for Physical Education classes
Improvement Priority Areas (worse than 20% of target goal):
• Higher percent of days when physical health was not good during the past 30 days
• Higher percent of days when mental health was not good during the past 30 days
• Higher percent with asthma
• Higher percent with diabetes
• Fewer acres of parkland per capita
• Fewer ball diamonds per capita
• Fewer park playgrounds per capita
• Fewer park units per capita
• Fewer recreation centers per capita
• Fewer swimming pools per capita

Number 5: SACRAMENTO, CA
(Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA MSA)
Total Score = 71.4; Rank = 5
Areas of Excellence (at or better than target goal):
• Higher percent meeting both CDC aerobic and strength activity guidelines
• Higher percent consuming 2+ fruits per day
• Higher percent consuming 3+ vegetables per day
• Lower percent with angina or coronary heart disease
• More farmers’ markets per capita
• Higher percent bicycling or walking to work
• Higher percent of population with a 10 minute walk to park
• More ball diamonds per capita
• More dog parks per capita
• More park playgrounds per capita
• More golf courses per capita
• More park units per capita
• More recreation centers per capita
• Higher park-related expenditures per capita
• Higher level of state requirement for Physical Education classes
Improvement Priority Areas (worse than 20% of target goal):
• Higher percent of days when mental health was not good during the past 30 days
• Higher percent with asthma
• Higher percent with diabetes
• Higher death rate for diabetes
• Lower percent of city land area as parkland
• Fewer acres of parkland per capita
• Lower percent using public transportation to work
• Fewer tennis courts per capita

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts