Why America’s ‘Fittest City’ Can Be a Model for Rest of the Country

America’s biggest metropolis? The argument may final for days.

But what in regards to the nation’s healthiest metropolis? That is none apart from Virginia’s Arlington, in line with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the most important sports activities drugs and train science group on the earth.

Located simply outdoors Washington, D.C., Arlington has been named the “fittest city in America,” in line with the ACSM’s 2022 American Fitness Index Rankings, which had been unveiled on Tuesday, July 12.

Arlington bagged the index’s high spot for the fifth consecutive 12 months, usurping among the nation’s main city cities, together with the nation’s capital in addition to New York, LA, Miami and extra, within the general rating throughout all well being indicators of the index.

Speaking to Newsweek, a spokesperson for Arlington County it’s “excited to be named ‘America’s Fittest City’ for a record fifth consecutive year,” including that “Arlington promotes access to resources and opportunities needed for improved health and well-being.”

This 12 months the science-based index evaluated 100 of America’s largest cities based mostly on 34 indicators, from well being behaviors and power ailments to neighborhood infrastructure, that assist a bodily lively life-style.

The Arlington city skyline in Virginia.
The Arlington metropolis skyline alongside the Potomac River.
iStock/Getty Images Plus

The index in the end goals to teach neighborhood leaders as they form coverage, programs and environmental change methods to advertise the well being and sustainability of their communities.

Speaking to Newsweek, Amanda Paluch, a member of the ACSM Fitness Index Advisory Board, stated Arlington “absolutely” could be a mannequin for the remainder of the nation by way of constructing a neighborhood geared in direction of well being.

“However, every city is unique so what works in Arlington may not work in another city. We encourage every community to find local solutions that work for their residents’ needs and interests,” she stated.

What Makes Arlington America’s Fittest City?

The scores for the index’s 34 indicators had been grouped into two sub-scores—private well being and neighborhood/setting. The index experiences each the general rank and rating for every metropolis evaluated in addition to the ranks of the sub-scores, Paluch defined.

“This helps us see if a city is doing well in one area or the other. For example, a city with a low personal health sub-score, but high community/environment sub-score may need to focus more on getting residents to use the existing physical activity infrastructure,” Paluch defined.

In the most recent rankings, Arlington got here first in each the private well being and neighborhood/setting sub-scores, whereas it ranked within the high 10 cities for 19 of the 34 well being indicators.

Below are the six well being indicators for which Arlington ranked no. 1:

  • Percentage of inhabitants exercising within the earlier month.
  • Percentage of inhabitants in wonderful or excellent well being.
  • Percentage of inhabitants with poor bodily well being within the earlier month
  • Percentage of inhabitants with hypertension.
  • Percentage of inhabitants with stroke.
  • Percentage of inhabitants with diabetes.

Paluch stated up till 2018, the index assessed the 50 largest metros and Arlington was included as a part of the Washington, D.C. metro rating till then. But when the index was expanded to incorporate the 100 largest cities within the nation, “Arlington took the top spot and hasn’t been knocked off yet.”

See the scores throughout all 34 indicators for Arlington and the remainder of the cities evaluated in addition to full particulars on the index’s methodology on the ACSM web site.

What Are the Healthiest Aspects of Arlington?

Paluch stated: “Arlington residents live in a walkable and bikeable community with excellent access to parks, trails, and greenways. Combining the city’s physical activity infrastructure with high rates of good personal health behaviors like exercise, healthy eating, and not smoking leads to low rates of chronic disease, heart disease and diabetes.”

Walking and Biking

Paluch stated “walkability and bikeability” are the healthiest elements of life in Arlington.

“From walking kids to school to biking to work or to the grocery store, a pedestrian friendly city means people are active throughout the day, not just during planned exercise times,” she stated.

Arlington’s parks and outside areas are related by greater than 75 miles of multi-use trails, together with practically 49 miles which are paved.

In June 2022, Arlington County was named among the many 5 “Walk Friendly Platinum Communities in the U.S.,” becoming a member of ranks of New York City, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco.

A pedestrian/bike trail in Arlington, Virginia.
A pedestrian and bike path in Arlington, Virginia.
iStock/Getty Images Plus

Nature and Outdoor Spaces

Sitting on the Potomac River, round 5 miles from Washington, D.C., Arlington is house to 1,100 acres of parks and open house, together with over 150 parks. The spokesperson for Arlington County stated: “99 percent of Arlington residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park.”

In 2020, Arlington’s park system was named among the many high 4 in America’s 100 largest cities.

Residents can get pleasure from picnicking or boating at Gravelly Point Park or spectacular scenic views from the Potomac riverfront and George Washington Memorial Parkway.

More outside areas could be explored within the capital close by, equivalent to Theodore Roosevelt Island, the place you’ll be able to get pleasure from miles of wooded uplands and swampy bottomlands that honor the legacy of twenty sixth president, who was a fantastic outdoorsman and conservationist.

Great Falls National Park, Virginia.
A view of Virginia’s Great Falls National Park alongside the Potomac River, an integral a part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
iStock/Getty Images Plus

Recreational Centers

The Arlington County spokesperson stated “the county offers natural resources and affordable recreational programs and services for people of all ages, abilities, and interests,” together with neighborhood facilities, playgrounds and even a skate park.

Arlington is house to 13 neighborhood facilities in addition to loads of outside exercise venues, together with not less than 93 basketball courts, 92 tennis courts and 15 volleyball courts, in line with the federal government web site.

From way back to 2002, Arlington was awarded the Environmental Protection Agency’s highest award for “Smart Growth,” which refers back to the creation of “attractive communities” providing a variety of housing and transportation choices close to jobs, retailers, providers and colleges.

“We’ve been employing these strategies since long before the term was coined in the 1990s—beginning with planning the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, which is recognized as a pioneering model for smart growth success,” the Arlington authorities web site explains.

The Rosslyn Metro station options one of many longest steady escalators on the earth, spanning 194 toes and eight inches, in line with the federal government web site.

Update 7/14/22, 5:22 a.m ET: This article was up to date with remark from the Arlington County authorities.

America's Fittest Cities 2022 ACSM Index
An infographic highlighting America’s high 10 “fittest cities,” in line with the 2022 American Fitness Index Rankings from the American College of Sports Medicine, the most important sports activities drugs and train science group on the earth.
American College of Sports Medicine

Leave a Comment