Lonely Planet Writer

Washington, D.C. named the fittest city in America for the third year in a row

Turns out Washington, D.C., isn’t just full of A-type movers and shakers, it’s also  home to America’s fittest city.

Jogger at Washington Monument, Washington DC
Jogger at Washington Monument, Washington DC Image by Getty Images

For the third consecutive year, the D.C. metro area – better known for its politics and monuments than Olympic athletes – has been rated the fittest city in the U.S. by the American Fitness Index.

National Mall, Washington DC.
National Mall, Washington DC. Image by YoTuT / CC BY 2.0

The annual study looks at 50 cities across the U.S. and measures them based on several aspects, including the ratio of parks to residents, obesity levels in the  population, cardiovascular issues, smoking rates, and farmers’ markets, among other factors.

The twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota came second, while DenverColorado, moved up from sixth to third place in 2016. The top five were rounded out by Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California.

So what gave D.C. first place across the finish line? Well, among other things, 80 percent of residents surveyed said they had exercised in the previous 30 days. A whopping 96 percent live within a 10-minute walk of a park, and 18 percent  reported eating three or more servings of vegetables per day.

The annual study based findings on ratio of farmers markets among other criteria.
The annual study based findings on ratio of farmers markets among other criteria. Image by Getty Images

The three top metro areas also showed increased walking by residents using public transportation.

And what about America’s least fit cities? Louisville in Kentucky, Oklahoma City,  Oklahoma, and Indianapolis, Indiana, rounded out the end of the table. In contrast to  D.C., Minneapolis and Denver, only 32 percent of residents lived within walking distance of a park, and about 13 percent ate three or more servings of vegetables a day.