Washington Just Lost Its “America’s Fittest City” Title

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It’s a sad day in the Nation’s Capitol—and for once, this has nothing to do with healthcare or Russia. The American College of Sport’s Medicine’s American Fitness Index (AFI) just announced that DC is no longer America’s fittest city, a title we’ve held onto with a vise grip for three years running.

Despite the fact that new gyms are constantly opening here, despite the fact that we have nutritionists to coach us through grocery shopping, and despite the fact that we scored better this year than the previous one, Washington was edged out by Minneapolis, Minnesota, which scored 80.2 to Washington’s 79.2. Making matters worse, AFI really rubs it in by highlighting Minneapolis’ harsh weather: “Minneapolis-St. Paul still finished on top despite the challenges of being a northern state with hard winters.”

While DC’s overall score increased, Washington dropped to fifth in the “Personal Health” category, which is determined by how much people exercise, eat fruits and vegetables, sleep, and smoke, as well as the prevalence of chronic health problems in the region. However, in the 2017 ranking, Washington moved up from third to first place for “Community Health,” with improvements in the percentage of people who bike to work, number of farmer’s markets per a million people, the area’s walk score, and the percent of the region that’s within a ten minute walk to a park.

But don’t let this get you too down—DC is still ahead of the rest of the vast majority of American cities. According to AFI, the top seven cities scored four to 13 percentage points above the rest. And if you want to help the region to reclaim its crown, start with some areas where our ranking fell: percentage of people who exercised at all in the last 30 days and the percentage of people who consume two or more fruits or three or more vegetables in a day.

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.