Chicago ranks 27th among most fit cities

Chicago ranks 27th among most fit cities

The American College of Sports Medicine has released its annual American Fitness Index, which ranks cities in terms of overall personal and community health indicators. This year, Chicago and surrounding cities came in 27th out of 50 major metropolitan cities ranked, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

The metropolitan areas of Minneapolis, Washington DC, Portland, OR, San Francisco and Denver round are the top five–while Boston, Sacramento, Seattle, Hartford and San Jose round out the top ten.

The annual survey looks at key indicators such as personal health behaviors like smoking, eating vegetables, obesity rates and physical activity, as well as community and environmental indicators such as accessibility to parks and golf courses, violent crime rate and availability of farmers’ markets. These and other factors contribute to an overall score that rates the community fitness of a city to assist communities in further enhancing the health and wellbeing of their residents.

“This ranking does take into account a number of key health indicators that are important to both individuals and communities,” says Dr. Jennifer DeBruler, an internal medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group. “I know that you can find seemingly endless rankings online, but the ACSM ranking looks like it seeks to be genuinely helpful in building community health and wellness.”

The data used in the AFI report comes from the U.S. Census Annual Estimates of Population, and did show “Areas of Excellence” for Chicago this year. Specifically, Chicago excelled in:

  • More farmers’ markets per capita
  • Higher percent of residents biking/walking to work
  • Higher level of state requirement for physical education classes
  • More baseball diamonds per capita

Areas for improvement included:

  • Higher percent smoking
  • Higher percent with asthma
  • Fewer acres of parkland per capita
  • Higher percent obese per capita


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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.