Fort Wayne and Indianapolis near back of pack on annual fitness ranking

(Photo Supplied/Fort 4 Fitness)

NATIONWIDE (Network Indiana): Fort Wayne and Indianapolis get low marks on an annual physical fitness ranking of the nation’s 100 largest cities.

The American Fitness Index, compiled by the Anthem Foundation and the American College of Sports Medicine, has ranked Indy in the bottom 10 four years in a row — it’s fifth from the bottom this year. Fort Wayne gained 15 spots for its best ranking in four years but still ranks 78th.

The index ranks cities on 34 health indicators, from smoking and obesity rates to the number of public fitness opportunities like pools and basketball courts. Indy ranked below average on all but seven, with Fort Wayne below average on all but 10.

Regenstrief Institute researcher and former ACSM president NiCole Keith says Indianapolis has taken important steps to enhance fitness opportunities, with the addition of bike lanes and an emphasis on hiking and biking trails. But she says the city could do more to promote those amenities and encourage people to use them.

The organization tweaked its formula this year to measure how easily people can get to stores which offer healthy food. That ended up one of Fort Wayne’s best scores and one of Indy’s worst — Indy’s food deserts were rated the 10th worst in the nation.

The organization also incorporated a measure of how many people get seven hours of sleep a night, and dropped from the index a count of farmers’ markets in each city.

The full report is here.

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