The nation's capital may be dysfunctional, but you can't say its body politic isn't slim and in shape, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), whose recent report ranks the healthiest cities in America.
Yes, Washington's spending habits may be porky but its citizens' diets are full of fruits and vegetables, and its parks and streets are regularly filled with joggers. According to ACSM, no city boasts a higher American Fitness Index (AFI) score.
AFI is an amalgamation of various data points reflecting the overall health of a city's population and the extent to which community resources and policies encourage healthy behaviors. So while Washington's high AFI score is partially thanks to its citizens' low rates of obesity, incidents of chronic disease and diminished smoking habits, its government -- specifically its parks and recreation officials -- are also deserving of kudos.
"Health advocates and community leaders have come to expect the arrival of the American Fitness Index as an annual check-up regarding their community's health and fitness levels," said Walter Thompson, chairman of the AFI Advisory Board.
"The AFI data report is a snapshot of the state of health in the community and an evaluation of the infrastructure, community assets and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles," Thompson explained. "These measures directly affect quality of life in our country's urban areas."
Rounding out the top ten are: Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; Portland, Ore.; Denver, Colo.; San Francisco, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; San Diego, Calif; Boston, Mass.; and Sacramento, Calif.