ACSM American Fitness Index Ranks Charlotte As 34th

Armen Hareyan's picture

Charlotte, N.C., ranked as the 34th fittest of America’s most populous metropolitan areas according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) American Fitness Index (AFI). ACSM unveiled the 2009 rankings and released the AFI data report, “Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas,“ during the organization’s Annual Meeting in Seattle. The report, produced in partnership with the WellPoint Foundation, is a snapshot of the state of health and fitness in America’s 50 most populous metropolitan areas.

The AFI data report reflects a composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, health care access, as well as community resources and policies that support physical activity. In addition to a data report, AFI is a program designed to help communities identify opportunities to improve the health of their residents and expand community assets to better support active, healthy lifestyles.

“ACSM believes that researching and understanding the scope of the problem is the first step toward developing programs, initiatives and policies to increase physical activity,” according to AFI Advisory Board Chair Walt Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM. “The data evaluated for this report will help identify each metropolitan area’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Based on figures related to healthy lifestyles and physical activity, the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) of Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord scored 40.3 in the AFI data report. Washington D.C. Metro scored 74.4 to achieve the top ranking. Metro areas completing the top five were Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, Boston and San Francisco, which finished at the top of the inaugural rankings in 2008.

The western United States dominated the top 10, with only three cities lying east of the Mississippi River. The nation’s largest cities finished in the middle of the pack with New York at 22nd, Chicago at 25th and Los Angeles at 30th.

Charlotte ranked 27th on personal health indicators related to health behaviors, chronic health problems and health care. The area ranked 39th on community/environmental indicators related to the built environment, recreational facilities, park-related expenditures, physical education requirements and primary health care providers. For a complete list of Charlotte’s strengths and challenges plus a breakdown of the components that helped make up its score, please visit the AFI web page and download the Charlotte report at

The metropolitan rankings included in the report are:

1. Washington, D.C. 74.4

2. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. 72.1

3. Denver, Colo. 71.6

4. Boston, Mass. 71.4

5. San Francisco, Calif. 71.3

6. Seattle, Wash. 69.7

7. Portland, Ore. 68.1

8. San Diego, Calif. 66.8

9. Austin, Texas 65.1

10. Virginia Beach, Va. 63.1

11. Hartford, Conn. 62.5

12. Sacramento, Calif. 62.2

13. San Jose, Calif. 61.3

14. Cincinnati, Ohio 60.8

15. Atlanta, Ga. 59.3

16. Pittsburgh, Pa. 54.3

17. Milwaukee, Wisc. 53.0


18. Buffalo, N.Y. 53.0

19. Baltimore, Md. 52.5

20. Raleigh, N.C. 52.3

21. Kansas City, Mo./Kan. 50.3

22. New York, N.Y. 48.9

23. Tampa, Fla. 48.5

24. Cleveland, Ohio 47.9

25. Chicago, Ill. 47.6

26. Nashville, Tenn. 46.8

27. Philadelphia, Pa. 45.9

28. Jacksonville, Fla. 45.2

29. Columbus, Ohio 43.9

30. Los Angeles, Calif. 43.6

31. Miami, Fla. 42.7

32. Phoenix, Ariz. 42.5

33. St. Louis, Mo. 42.5

34. Charlotte, N.C. 40.3

35. Dallas, Texas 39.6

36. Indianapolis, Ind. 39.3

37. Memphis, Tenn. 38.5

38. Louisville, Ky. 37.7

39. San Antonio, Texas 35.5

40. Riverside, Calif. 35.1

41. Houston, Texas 34.7

42. Las Vegas, Nev. 34.6