2011: The healthiest cities in America

Minneapolis, Washington, DC and Boston are the top three healthiest cities in the nation.

Minnesota ranked number one in overall health and fitness because the city has a lower percent of unemployed people, higher household median incomes as well as a lower percentage of households living below the poverty level. In Minneapolis, a higher percent of people reported engaging in physical activity or exercise in the last 30 days. Minneapolis has a lower percentage of people who currently smoke and a higher percent of people who are at least moderately physically active.

Diabetes, asthma, coronary heart disease, and a lower death rate from diabetes are among the positive strengths and advantages in Minneapolis.

Washington, DC the second healthiest city in the nation, includes sections of Maryland and Virginia in its survey. In the DC, MD and VA (DMV) area there are a higher percentage of people who eat 5 or more servings of fruits or vegetables, a lower obese population, and a higher percentage of people in excellent or very good health. Like Minneapolis, the DMV has a lower unemployment percentage, higher median household incomes and lower percentages of households living below the poverty level. In the DMV there is a higher percent of city land area designated as park land. In DC, MD and VA, contiguous bike and walking trails flow from Maryland through DC and VA.

Boston ranked top three for similar reasons as DC and Minneapolis. There are higher percentage of Bostonians using public transportation to work and there are more farmers' markets per capita in the area. There are also a lower percent of people who are currently smoking in Boston as well.

The majority of the healthiest cities are in the and north central section of the nation. In the South, Texas has four healthy cities. Austin, Houston, and San Antonio are 39, 33 and 42. Dallas ranks 16. Alabama, Atlanta, New Orleans, Raleigh, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Florida also placed in the top 50 healthiest cities in the South.

The American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) annual American Fitness Index™ (AFI) prepares the list of the healthiest city each year. For a full look at the PDF report click here.

The top 50 healthiest cities:

1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
2. Washington, D.C.
3. Boston, Mass.
4. Portland, Ore.
5. Denver, Colo.
6. San Francisco, Calif.
7. Hartford, Conn.
8. Seattle, Wash.
9. Virginia Beach, Va.
10. Sacramento, Calif.
11. San Jose, Calif.
12. Richmond, Va.
13. San Diego, Calif.
14. Cincinnati, Ohio
15. Salt Lake City, Utah
16. Austin, Texas
17. Pittsburgh, Pa.
18. Atlanta, Ga.
19. Providence, R.I.
20. Baltimore, Md.
21. Milwaukee, Wis.
22. Kansas City, Mo.
23. Buffalo, N.Y.
24. Raleigh, N.C.
25. Cleveland, Ohio
26. St. Louis, Mo.
27. Philadelphia, Pa.
28. Chicago, Ill.
29. Orlando, Fla.
30. New York, N.Y.
31. Jacksonville, Fla.
32. Phoenix, Ariz.
33. San Antonio, Texas
34. New Orleans, La.
35. Miami, Fla.
36. Charlotte, N.C.
37. Nashville, Tenn.
38. Columbus, Ohio
39. Dallas, Texas
40. Tampa, Fla.
41. Los Angeles, Calif.
42. Houston, Texas
43. Las Vegas, Nev.
44. Riverside, Calif.
45. Indianapolis, Ind.
46. Detroit, Mich.
47. Birmingham, Ala.
48. Memphis, Tenn.
49. Louisville, Ky.
50. Oklahoma City, Okla.

Image source: Wikipedia