These Are the Healthiest Cities in the U.S.

Whether you're fit or fat may depend on where you live.

The American College of Sports Medicine ranks U.S. cities every year on the health of residents and how well the community environment supports better health.

The annual Fitness Index report looks at both personal health indicators -- meaning what people are doing individually to get and stay healthy -- as well as the built environment like parks, playgrounds, and recreation centers that offer opportunities for better health.

The personal health indicators in the rankings include the percent of residents who:

  • got any exercise in the past 30 days,
  • met aerobic activity guidelines
  • consumed three or more vegetables a day and two or more fruits a day
  • smoke
  • get more than seven hours sleep
  • have diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure or other health issues.
The community and environment indicators include the city's Walk Score, percent of parkland per 1,000 residents, how many people bike or walk to work, farmers markets, and the number of recreational facilities, such as dog parks, ball parks, and swimming pools.

Cities with the highest scores are considered to have strong community fitness, a concept analogous to individuals having strong personal fitness, the report says. Cities that rank near the top of the Fitness Index have more strengths and resources that support healthy living and fewer challenges that hinder it. The opposite is true for cities near the bottom of the rankings.

These are the healthiest cities in the U.S.

1. Arlington, Va.
1. Arlington, Va.

1. Arlington, Va.

Besides being the healthiest city, Arlington also ranked in the top 10 cities for 11 other indicators in the Fitness Index, including:

  • residents meeting aerobic and strength activity guidelines
  • low levels of residents with obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes
  • number of farmers markets, local parks, dog parks, and tennis courts
  • residents that live within a 10-minute walk to a park
  • funding for public parks
  • high use of public transportation

Arlington is currently engaging community members to identify the key issues that impact children's health. With 26% of pre-kindergarten children at an unhealthy weight, Arlington is building a plan to address the issue.

Above, cyclists compete in the elite men's race at the Armed Forces Cycling Classic June 10, 2018 in Arlington.

Photo: Rena Schild / Shutterstock

2. Minneapolis
2. Minneapolis

2. Minneapolis

This was one of the top 10 cities for residents getting at least seven hours of sleep. The city has over 6,800 acres in its park system and 102 miles of biking and walking paths. 18% of Minneapolis public-school students live within an easily walkable distance to school. Above, runners in the Minneapolis half Marathon.

Photo: 3841128876 / Shutterstock

3. Washington, D.C.
3. Washington, D.C.

3. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. held the title of "America's Fittest City" for three consecutive years. The city offers a series of free workouts, walks and runs, nutrition seminars, and health expos to help D.C. residents jumpstart and maintain their exercise programs.

  • 100% of D.C. residents live within two miles of a recreation center
  • The city has over 70 miles of bike lanes
  • There are over 1,100 bikes available in its bike sharing system
  • The city also scored in the top 10 for both fruit and vegetable consumption.

Above, a bike, part of a station-less bicycle-sharing system outside of the Lincoln Memorial.

Photo: Nicole S Glass / Shutterstock

4. Madison, Wis.
4. Madison, Wis.

4. Madison, Wis.

Madison ranked No. 1 in seven indicators, including:

  • 91% of residents had exercised past 30 days
  • It has the most park units and playgrounds per 10,000 people
  • Madison topped the charts with 74.3% of residents getting seven or more hours of sleep.

Above, canoeing on Lake Monona near Bringham Park.

Photo: Shutterstock

5. Portland, Ore.
5. Portland, Ore.

5. Portland, Ore.

Portland was No. 2 of most active cities as well as residents eating three or more vegetables a day.

Photo: Joshua Rainey Photography / Shutterstock

6. Seattle
6. Seattle

6. Seattle

Seattle is one of the top 10 most walkable cities, with parks within a 10-minute walk for many residents, and a high number of residents who walk or bike to work. It is also one of the 10 most active cities, and one of the 10 cities with the fewest smokers. Above, Gas Works Park in Seattle.

Photo: Shutterstock

7. Denver, Co.
7. Denver, Co.

7. Denver, Co.

Denver ranked in the top 10 for all three physical activity indicators, and in the top 10 for residents getting at least seven hours of sleep a night.

Photo: Shutterstock

8. St. Paul, Minn.
8. St. Paul, Minn.

8. St. Paul, Minn.

Residents here scored high for getting seven or more hours of sleep, as well as having a high percentage of parks per 10,000 residents. Above, Harriet Park in St. Paul.

Photo: Shaul Patel / Shutterstock

9. San Jose, Calif.
9. San Jose, Calif.

9. San Jose, Calif.

Ninth overall, San Jose ranked No. 1 across the collective personal health indicators. It is among the top 10 cities for eight of 16 personal health indicators, including high rates of aerobic and strength activity, vegetable consumption and low rates of smoking, obesity, asthma, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Boise, Idaho
10. Boise, Idaho

10. Boise, Idaho

Boise topped the charts for aerobic activity with 63.9% of residents meeting guidelines. It also ranked in the top 10 for all three physical activity indicators. Above, surfing in Boise Whitewater Park.

Photo: AhXiong / Shutterstock

11. Oakland, Calif.
11. Oakland, Calif.

11. Oakland, Calif.

Oakland has one of the lowest rates of heart disease, and is one of the 10 cities with the fewest smokers. Above, the Grand Lake Farmers Market in Oakland.

Photo: cdrin / Shutterstock

12. Plano, Texas
12. Plano, Texas

12. Plano, Texas

Plano scored highest for residents meeting both aerobic and strength activity guidelines at 31.4%. Above, Oak Point Nature Preserve in Plano.

Photo: Shutterstock

13. Irvine, Calif.
13. Irvine, Calif.

13. Irvine, Calif.

Irvine is notable for having a low number of smokers, and a high percentage of city parkland.

Photo: Shutterstock

14. San Francisco
14. San Francisco

14. San Francisco

San Francisco, 14th overall, leads the pack for eating vegetables.

Photo: Shutterstock

15. Boston
15. Boston

15. Boston

Boston ranks No. 4 of all 100 cities for walkability. Above, Washington Street in the city center.

Photo: Stephan Schlachter / Shutterstock

16. San Diego
16. San Diego

16. San Diego

San Diego is one of the cities with lots of parkland.

Photo: meunierd / Shutterstock

17. Lincoln, Neb.
17. Lincoln, Neb.

17. Lincoln, Neb.

Lincoln residents are sleeping well: the city ranked in the top 10 for getting at least 7 hours of sleep.

Photo: Shutterstock

18. Raleigh, N.C.
18. Raleigh, N.C.

18. Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh is one of the 10 most active cities.

Photo: Shutterstock

19. Fremont, Calif.
19. Fremont, Calif.

19. Fremont, Calif.

Fremont can boast having few smokers, a low rate of heart disease, and lots of parks for residents. Above, hiking trails at Mission Peak offer views of the San Francisco Bay near Fremont.

Photo: Shutterstock

20. Atlanta, Ga.
20. Atlanta, Ga.

20. Atlanta, Ga.

Atlanta is fourth on the list of cities with the most parks per 10,000 residents.

Photo: Shutterstock

21. Anchorage, Alaska
21. Anchorage, Alaska

21. Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage topped the list with a whopping 2,993 park acres per 1,000 residents and 84.2% of the city allocated as parkland. Excluding Anchorage, the top 25 cities averaged 21.2 park acres per 1,000 residents and 15% of the city as parkland.

Photo: Shutterstock

22. Aurora, Colo.
22. Aurora, Colo.

22. Aurora, Colo.

In Aurora, 72.1% of residents are getting at least seven hours of sleep, one of the top 10 cities in that category.

Photo: Shutterstock

23. St. Petersburg, Fla.
23. St. Petersburg, Fla.

23. St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Florida city ranked in the top 10 on the mental health indicator.

Photo: Shutterstock

24. Colorado Springs, Colo.
24. Colorado Springs, Colo.

24. Colorado Springs, Colo.

Residents here are among the most active of all the cities. Above, Garden of the Gods public park in Colorado Springs.

Photo: Shutterstock

25. Miami
25. Miami

25. Miami

Miami is the No. 1 city for good mental health.

Photo: Shutterstock

26. Durham, N.C.
26. Durham, N.C.

26. Durham, N.C.

Durham is one of the 10 cities with the fewest smokers, as well as one of the most active cities. Pictured is Eno River State Park in Durham, just few miles from Duke University.

Photo: Shutterstock

27. Sacramento, Calif.
27. Sacramento, Calif.

27. Sacramento, Calif.

Park expenditure in the capital of California is $114 per resident. In St. Louis, the top city in that category, spending is $590. For comparison, Oklahoma City's cost-of-living adjusted spending on parks was $58 per resident.

Photo: Dana Gardner / Shutterstock

28. Albuquerque, N.M.
28. Albuquerque, N.M.

28. Albuquerque, N.M.

The New Mexico city is in the top 10 for aerobic and strengthening activities, as well as a high percentage of the city devoted to parks. Above, the annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

Photo: Michael E Halstead / Shutterstock

29. Cincinnati
29. Cincinnati

29. Cincinnati

The Queen City is in the top 10 for the number of parks per 10,000 residents. Above, Smale Riverfront Park.

Photo: Shutterstock

30. Virginia Beach, Va.
30. Virginia Beach, Va.

30. Virginia Beach, Va.

This city is one of the most active in aerobic and strengthening activities, and has a high number of parks for residents.

Photo: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

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