Boston Is Ninth Fittest City

Runners leave the starting line of the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Runners leave the starting line of the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21 in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) –AP

All of those walks along the Charles River, mornings spent biking to work to save an extra $2.50 on the MBTA, and weekends spent holiday power shopping through the Prudential Center have finally paid off. Bostonians are the ninth fittest urbanites in the country, according to this year’s American Fitness Index (AFI) report.

The AFI report, conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), uses a combination of 30 personal and community health indicators to compare the overall health and fitness of America’s 50 most populated cities. The variables, which include everything from accessibility of places to exercise (parks, tennis courts, recreation centers), obesity and diabetes rates, as well as the percentage of the population consuming two or more servings of fruit per day, are weighed according to their level of importance to create the overall score, according to the report.


Boston ranked ninth out of the 50 metropolitan areas analyzed, with an overall fitness score of 69.1 out of 100. The data comes from the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, Middlesex, and Essex in Massachusetts. It also includes Rockingham and Strafford counties in New Hampshire.

These are the areas that boosted our score:

•High number of farmers’ markets per capita (34/1,000,000 people)

•High percentage of people using public transportation (12.2 percent), and biking or walking to work (6.4 percent)

•High number of playgrounds per capita (34/100,000 people)

•High Walkscore (80/100)

But let’s not get too big of an ego, Boston. We have our faults as well.

Here’s what brought us down:

•High percentage of population with asthma (9.7 percent), diabetes (7.9 percent), and heart disease (4 percent)

•Low number of swimming pools (1.1/100,000 people) and tennis courts (1.5/10,000 people)

•High percentage of population in poor physical (34.8 percent) or mental (34.6 percent) health in the past thirty days.

So if we’re ninth, then who ranked above us?

This year’s top-ranking city was Washington, D.C., with an overall score of 77.3 out of 100. Other cities ranking in the top-10 included California’s San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego (we’ll give them that, they don’t have winter), but we’re definitely impressed at Minneapolis’ second place ranking. It’s freezing over there!

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