And the fittest city in the US is … – USA TODAY

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Washington, D.C. remains among the fittest cities in the U.S., but two Tennessee cities and Indianapolis are among the least fit. Here are the five fittest and least fit U.S. cities among the Top 50 metro areas.

Washington, D.C., is the fittest city in the United States for the third year in a row, according to a ranking of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country. 

The nation’s capital was closely followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver as the second- and third-fittest of the 50 metro areas, according to the American Fitness Index. The ninth annual ranking came out today from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation.

Washington’s low rate of smoking pushed its ranking to the top once again, according to the report, which is based on a number of health behaviors and environmental factors such as access to parks, recreational facilities and walking trails.

Residents in the top three fittest cities all tend to walk more because they use public transportation, have greater access to parks for recreation and lower cardiovascular and diabetes-related health-issues, according to the report.

Many of the lowest-ranking metro areas on the list fell in areas in the South and Midwest.

Indianapolis came dead last on the ranking, followed by Oklahoma City, which in the past has also held the lowest ranking.

Many of the cities on the lower end of the list have a disadvantage in that they may not have the same recreational parks and outdoor amenities as other higher-ranked cities like Denver.

While you can point to regional food preferences as another aspect affecting the ranking, some areas have climates that lend more to exercise than others, according to Dana Angelo White, a sports dietitian and assistant clinical professor at Quinnipiac University.

“Denver has so many opportunities for everything from skiing to running to swimming, and temperatures are very seasonable for a large part of the year,” White said in an email. “If you compare to New Orleans, where the summer months can be oppressively hot and humid, there are arguably less chances to get out and exercise.”

But before you dismiss your unhealthy lifestyle as a circumstance of your location, remember that being fit starts with you, Anthem Chief Clinical Officer Craig Samitt said in a statement.

“Modeling healthy behavior by incorporating activity into the weekday schedule and practicing good nutrition can improve fitness,” said Samitt

He notes that Americans should aim for exercising at least 40 minutes and participating in 10 minutes of stretching five days a week.

Put it on the calendar!

Here is the full ranking:

Follow @MaryBowerman on Twitter. 

And the fittest city in the US is … – USA TODAY

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