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D.C. area ranks as most fit, healthy metro area in the country

Wednesday - 5/28/2014, 10:40am  ET

Runner, running, exercise (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Exercise is just one of the things that helped the D.C. area rank No. 1 on a list of the most fit and healthy metropolitan areas in the country. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images New/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- The D.C. area claimed the title of the nation's most fit and healthy metropolitan area, according to new research released Wednesday.

D.C. ranked No. 1 on the 2014 Annual Fit City Index, which compared the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas and measured their preventatives health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions and community resources and politics that support physical activity.

D.C. took the top ranking from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, which held the title for the past three years. The Twin Cities area slid to the No. 2 ranking on the list.

Portland, Oregon; Denver; and San Francisco rounded out the top five fit and healthy cities, according to the research.

Memphis ranked last on the list.

Researchers used data from the U.S. Census, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, The Trust for the Public Land City Park Facts, Walk Score and other existing research data to determine the rankings.

The information fell into two categories: personal health indicators and community and environmental indicators.

The D.C. area ranked first when it came to community and environmental indicators.

It score higher than target goal for parkland with more than 19 percent of parkland making up the city area. The D.C. area has more than 12 acres of parkland, according to the research.

D.C.'s percentage of people who use public transportation and walk helped catapult the metro area to the top.

Also, the D.C. area ranked third for personal health indicators. About 81 percent of people did exercise in the last 30 days and more than 58 percent of people are in "excellent or very good health," according to the research.

Read more about the D.C. area's rankings on the ACSM American Fitness Index website.

Richmond and Baltimore ranked in the top half as well.

Below is a list of the top 25 cities on the fit city index. Their scores out of 100 are in parenthesis.

  1. Washington, D.C. (77.3)
  2. Minneapolis-St. Paul (73.5)
  3. Portland,Oregon (72.1)
  4. Denver (71.7)
  5. San Francisco (71)
  6. San Jose, California (69.4)
  7. Seattle (69.3)
  8. San Diego (69.2)
  9. Boston (69.1)
  10. Sacramento (66.9)
  11. Salt Lake City, Utah (65.7)
  12. Hartford, Connecticut (63.8)
  13. Raleigh, North Carolina (61.5)
  14. Austin, Texas (60.6)
  15. Chicago (56.6)
  16. Atlanta (56)
  17. Pittsburgh (54.8)
  18. Cincinnati (54.5)
  19. Los Angeles (53.4)
  20. Philadelphia (52.9)
  21. Richmond, Virginia (52.3)
  22. Virginia Beach, Virginia (52)
  23. Providence, Rhode Island (51.6)
  24. New York (51.5)
  25. Baltimore (50.8)

h/t: USA TODAY

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