Dallas Moves Up on Fittest City List


Dallas has placed 31st on the list of most fit cities across America.

OK, maybe 31st place doesn’t feel like BIG NEWS or something to brag about – but at least we moved up from our no. 38 standing last year. So high-fives all around. ✋✋✋

The 11th annual Fitness Index was released this week by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. For the first time, the ACSM Fitness Index evaluated America’s 100 largest cities using 33 health behaviors, chronic diseases, and community infrastructure indicators. Previously, the Fitness Index measured evidence-based indicators for the 50 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA).

If you’re wondering who won the race for the fittest city in America, it was Arlington – not our friends next door – Virginia, knocking Minneapolis right off its high horse by a slim half point in the annual ACSM American Fitness Index Ranking (Fitness Index).

So if you’re wondering, why Arlington, Virginia and not us Dallasites, well I can’t tell you. But this is why they won, according to a press release.

Arlington residents were found to have the lowest smoking rate and highest reports of very good or excellent health compared to the other 99 communities in the Fitness Index. The suburban Virginia community’s balance of both healthy behaviors and community infrastructure earned it the no. 1 rank with a score of 77.7. While Arlington ranked no. 4 in personal health and no. 5 in community indicators, the balance of its combined scores was enough to edge no. 2-ranked Minneapolis’ overall score of 77.2.

Dallas, BTW, has an overall score of 56.7. So did Chicago, and if you ask me, Chicago is pretty cool.

Arlington – yes our distant neighbors – placed no. 83 with an overall score of 39.7 – it must be all that traffic.

The Texas city to place highest on the list was Plano (no. 12) followed by us. Austin ranked no. 42. ?

Oklahoma City pulled up the bootstraps, coming in last place.

Nationally, there were some remarkable positive shifts during the last year:

  • 77.5 percent of adults in all Fitness Index cities were physically active in the previous month, with only 51.5 percent meeting aerobic activity guidelines and 22.2 percent meeting both strength and aerobic guidelines.
  • The average smoking rate across all cities was 15percent, the highest was 25.7 percent (all 16 California cities in the Fitness Index averaged only 10.6 percent).
  • 35 percent of residents in all cities reported their mental health was not good in the past 30 days (the top 25 cities averaged 35.8 percent reporting poor mental health in the past 30 days, and the highest city was 44.1 percent).
  • 65.4percent of residents in all cities indicated getting at least seven or more hours of sleep per night
    30 percent of adults reported eating at least two servings of fruit per day, while only 18 percent indicated eating three or more servings of vegetables per day.
  • Averages among all cities were 4.6 percent walking or biking to work, and 65.7 percent located within a 10-minute walk of a park.

To see the entire American Fitness Index, go here.

Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist and former Managing Editor of Park Cities People. She currently serves as a Senior Editor with D Magazine's D CEO publication. You can reach her by email at Bianca.Montes@Dmagazine or follow her on Instagram @Bianca_TBD. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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