Innovation Drives Urban Minneapolis to Top of Healthiest U.S. Cities List


For the second year in a row, Minneapolis-St Paul, Minn., has taken the top spot in a ranking of the 50 healthiest U.S. cities, according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2012 American Fitness Index (AFI).

The city achieved high marks on the strength of its city planning, high rate of physical activity, and low rates of obesity; nearly 83 percent of Minneapolis residents reported getting some physical activity in the past 30 days, Reuters reported June 25. Defying a wintry environment that lasts from November to April, the city created exercise studios and improved parklands, the AFI report notes.

“The more available green spaces, the more likely kids and adults are to enjoy that outdoor space, so simply having more parks and playgrounds makes a huge difference,” says Shirley Archer, a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise. “If you add walking, jogging or biking paths, people will use them.”

The Washington, D.C., Boston, San Francisco, and Hartford, Conn., metropolitan areas rounded out the top five healthiest cities, while Louisville, Ky., Detroit, Mich., and Oklahoma City, Okla., took the bottom three spots.

(Photo © Joe Bielawa via Flickr)