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Birmingham Area Among Least Fit in Ranking of Fitness in Largest 50 Metro Areas (table)

12834286-largeWhen author Hunter S. Thompson ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado (where Aspen is located) in 1969, he ran on a platform that included, among other things, renaming Aspen to “Fat City” to discourage developers intent on using the city’s name to make money. He also wanted to sod the streets.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Thompson lost that campaign, so “Fat City” is still free if we want to use it.

Yes, Birmingham has made another fitness list. No, it’s not on the good end.

In the 2013 American Fitness Index ratings (PDF) of health factors of the largest 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S., Birmingham came in 41st place, beating out places like Miami, Houston and Dallas, but falling behind Denver, Chicago, and New York City.

The index, which is compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine, looks at indicators of personal health — obesity rates, diabetes, smoking rates, physical activity — along with community and environmental factors, like access to tennis courts, swimming pools, green space, and dog parks.

Birmingham did pretty well when it came to environmental factors. The Magic City and its metro areas have more farmers markets, parks, playgrounds, rec centers, pools, and tennis courts per capita than other cities, and our state requires more Physical Education than others. But when it came to personal health, Birmingham and Hoover were sucking wind. There is more obesity, smoking, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease per capita in the Birmingham-Hoover metro area than other cities on the list, the report said. The lack of public transit in the area was noted, as was, perhaps surprisingly, lack of parkland acreage and dog parks.

Minneapolis-St. Paul topped the list, as fittest city, for the third time in as many years. The complete rankings are below, and the in-depth report on Birmingham is embedded below as well. The AFI report is here, and the Quick View is here.

AFI 2013
1 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
2 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
3 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
4 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
5 Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO
6 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH
7 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA
8 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
9 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT
10 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
11 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
12 Salt Lake City, UT
13 Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN
14 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
15 Raleigh-Cary, NC
16 Pittsburgh, PA
17 Baltimore-Towson, MD
18 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC
19 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH
20 Richmond, VA
21 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
22 Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA
23 Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
24 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
25 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
26 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
27 Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI
28 Kansas City, MO-KS
29 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
30 Columbus, OH
31 Saint Louis, MO-IL
32 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
33 Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ
34 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL
35 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
36 Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC
37 Jacksonville, FL
38 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA
39 Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
40 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
41 Birmingham-Hoover, AL
42 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
43 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
44 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
45 Indianapolis-Carmel, IN
46 Memphis, TN-MS-AR
47 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
48 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
49 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI
50 Oklahoma City, OK

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