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
- get more than seven hours sleep
- have diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure or other health issues.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Plano scored highest for residents meeting both aerobic and strength activity guidelines at 31.4%. Above, Oak Point Nature Preserve in Plano.
13. Irvine, Calif.
Irvine is notable for having a low number of smokers, and a high percentage of city parkland.
14. San Francisco
San Francisco, 14th overall, leads the pack for eating vegetables.
Boston ranks No. 4 of all 100 cities for walkability. Above, Washington Street in the city center.
Photo: Stephan Schlachter / Shutterstock
16. San Diego
San Diego is one of the cities with lots of parkland.
Photo: meunierd / Shutterstock
17. Lincoln, Neb.
Lincoln residents are sleeping well: the city ranked in the top 10 for getting at least 7 hours of sleep.
18. Raleigh, N.C.
Raleigh is one of the 10 most active cities.
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.
20. Atlanta, Ga.
Atlanta is fourth on the list of cities with the most parks per 10,000 residents.
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.
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.
23. St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Florida city ranked in the top 10 on the mental health indicator.
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.
Miami is the No. 1 city for good mental health.
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.
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.
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
The Queen City is in the top 10 for the number of parks per 10,000 residents. Above, Smale Riverfront Park.
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