How Healthy are Chicagoans?

Looks like a few more Chicago residents should take advantage of all the running trails along Lake Michigan.
The American College of Sports Medicine has released the 2011 American Fitness Index report, “Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas,” which evaluated the most populous cities to determine the healthiest and fittest places in the United States.
women in pink jogging along Lake MichiganChicago and its surrounding region ranked No. 28 out of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country.
Maybe more Chicago residents have been working out: The 14-county Chicago region actually moved up five spots from last year’s report.
Minneapolis-St. Paul was this year’s healthiest while Oklahoma City came in last.
“The scores and rankings from the report indicate which metro areas are more fit and which ones are less fit,” said Walter Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, chair of the AFI Advisory Board. “Although Minneapolis ranked first, there is room for improvement. At the same time, even the lowest-ranked areas have healthy residents and community resources supporting health and fitness.”
The report examined data from two categories: personal health indicators, which included factors like rates of asthma, heart disease and other heart risks; and community and environmental indicators, which included things like access to parkland and farmer’s markets.
Chicago scored 48.9 points out of a possible 100.
Our Strengths
*Lower than average rate of coronary heart disease.
*Higher than average rate of residents walking, biking and taking public transportation to work.
*More farmers’ markets and recreation centers than average.
Our Challenges
*Higher percent unemployed.
*Higher rate of asthma and other health ailments.
*Fewer parks, playgrounds, dog parks and golf courses than average.
Want to see more from Chicago’s report? Click here.
“A regular, scientific evaluation of the infrastructure, community assets, policies and opportunities which encourage healthy and fit lifestyles is imperative for cities wishing to provide a high quality of life for residents,” said Thompson. “Community health leaders and advocates in each metro area can use the AFI data report to easily identify their strengths and areas of opportunity.”
The top 50 metropolitan rankings and scores included in the 2011 AFI report:
1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.: 77.2
2. Washington, D.C.: 76.8
3. Boston, Mass.: 69.1
4. Portland, Ore.: 67.7
5. Denver, Colo.: 67.6
6. San Francisco, Calif.: 66.8
7. Hartford, Conn.: 66.8
8. Seattle, Wash.: 66.5
9. Virginia Beach, Va.: 65.8
10. Sacramento, Calif.: 65.3
11. San Jose, Calif.: 65.2
12. Richmond, Va.: 64.2
13. San Diego, Calif.: 63.3
14. Cincinnati, Ohio: 60.3
15. Salt Lake City, Utah: 59.8
16. Austin, Texas: 57.8
17. Pittsburgh, Pa.: 55.5
18. Atlanta, Ga.: 55.2
19. Providence, R.I.: 55.1
20. Baltimore, Md.: 53.7
21. Milwaukee, Wis.: 51.8
22. Kansas City, Mo.: 51.5
23. Buffalo, N.Y.: 50.2
24. Raleigh, N.C.: 50.0
25. Cleveland, Ohio: 49.6
26. St. Louis, Mo.: 49.3
27. Philadelphia, Pa.: 49.3
28. Chicago, Ill.: 48.9
29. Orlando, Fla.: 48.6
30. New York, N.Y.: 48.3
31. Jacksonville, Fla.: 46.7
32. Phoenix, Ariz.: 45.3
33. San Antonio, Texas: 45.0
34. New Orleans, La.: 43.9
35. Miami, Fla.: 43.1
36. Charlotte, N.C.: 42.3
37. Nashville, Tenn.: 42.3
38. Columbus, Ohio: 42.2
39. Dallas, Texas: 41.3
40. Tampa, Fla.: 40.4
41. Los Angeles, Calif.: 39.1
42. Houston, Texas: 38.3
43. Las Vegas, Nev.: 37.8
44. Riverside, Calif.: 36.8
45. Indianapolis, Ind.: 34.4
46. Detroit, Mich.: 33.8
47. Birmingham, Ala.: 33.6
48. Memphis, Tenn.: 32.9
49. Louisville, Ky.: 29.0
50. Oklahoma City, Okla.: 24.6