THE PROVIDENCE-NEW BEDFORD-FALL RIVER metropolitan area ranked No. 22 overall on the American College of Sports Medicine's American Fitness Index, which ranks the country's 50 largest metropolitan areas on a variety of health indicators.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Providence metropolitan area ranked No. 22 on the annual American Fitness Index, a list from the American College of Sports Medicine that ranks the country’s 50 largest metro areas using indicators such as access to health care, smoking and obesity rates.
With a total score of 53.5 out of 100, the metro area’s “areas of excellence” were lower death rate for diabetes, higher percent of city land area as parkland, more farmers’ markets per capita, higher percent bicycling or walking to work, more ball diamonds per capita, more dog parks per capita, more recreation centers per capita and a higher level of state requirement for physical education classes.
Despite the accolades, the Providence-New Bedford-Fall River metro area still had a number of “improvement priority areas” for which performance was worse than 20 percent of the target goal.
The areas the metro area needed to improve on included: smoking rates, obesity, the number of residents whose physical health was not good during the past 30 days, the number of residents whose mental health was not good during the past 30 days, asthma, angina or coronary heart disease, diabetes, the acres of parkland per capita, the percent of the public who use public transportation to work, golf courses per capita, tennis courts per capita and park-related expenditures per capita.
Regarding only the “personal health indicators” such as diabetes, asthma and mental health, Providence ranked 26th overall, with a score of 28.9.
The “community health indicators,” which included markers such as dog parks, golf courses and recreation classes, Rhode Island ranked No. 16 out of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.
Overall in the United States, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore. ranked the top three, with scores of 78.2, 77.7 and 69.8, respectively. The Boston metro area just missed out on a top five spot, coming in at No. 6 with an overall score of 67.1.
Comparatively, Oklahoma City (31.2), Detroit (33.6) and San Antonio (35.1) were the three worst-ranking metropolitan areas in the United States on the fitness index.