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Richmond is 21st in FIT City Index

5/28/2014, 9:37 a.m.
Metro Richmond is ranked 21st in the 2014 American Fitness Index™ (AFI) report with a score of 52.3 (out of ...
Fitness enthusiasts help RVA rank 21st.

Metro Richmond is ranked 21st in the 2014 American Fitness Index™ (AFI) report with a score of 52.3 (out of 100 possible points). Capturing the top ranking is the Washington, D.C., metro area with a score of 77.3 (out of 100 possible points).

The Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan area, ranked 22nd in the 2014 report with a score of 52.

The report from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), with support from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, is in its seventh year. Titled, “Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas,” it reflects a composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, and community resources and policies that support physical activity.

According to ACSM, the 2014 edition uses revised methods from the first six full-edition reports released from 2008 to 2013. New variables, including each community’s Walk Score ranking, have been added or modified and some variables have been removed to improve and enhance the 2014 data report. Consequently, comparisons of scores, sub-scores and rankings for 2014 should not be made with earlier AFI reports. Benchmarks for each data indicator, which were added in 2013, highlight specific areas for improvement.

“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, Ph.D., FACSM, chair 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. These measures directly affect quality of life in our country’s urban areas.”

To assist with measurement and to provide a baseline measure of health and fitness status, ACSM worked with the Indiana University School of Family Medicine and a panel of 26 health and physical activity experts on the methodology of the AFI data report. Researchers analyzed the data gleaned from U.S. Census data, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), The Trust for the Public Land City Park Facts and other existing research data in order to give a scientific, accurate snapshot of the health and fitness status at a metropolitan level.

For a complete list of Richmond’s areas of excellence and improvement priorities, plus a breakdown of the components that helped make up its score, visit the AFI website at AmericanFitnessIndex.org and download the metro area report.