On May 23, 2016 CNN released its ranking of the 50 largest metro areas from the fittest to the least fit based on the Annual Fitness Index (AFI) which is compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine. The largest single data source for the AFI is a system of health-related telephone surveys called the BRSS that collects data about U.S. residents. In other words, CNN’s fittest cities ranking is heavily based on self-reported data and includes retirees and others not in the workforce population.

From an employee wellness perspective, we thought it would be interesting to re-rank the list of metro areas using the employed population, based on objectively measured (not self-reported) biometric data such as BMI, blood pressure, cardiac risk ratios and fasting glucose levels. Granted, the AFI likely has millions of data points of self-reported data. We provide hundreds of thousands of data points of objectively measured data with the total sample size being the trade-off.

We arranged BMI, blood pressure, glucose levels and cardiac risk ratios by metro area and averaged them. Then we normalized the values to a common scale and combined them into an index that gives each parameter equal weight.

Based on our method:

  • The new Fittest City in America is Denver, CO (not Washington DC).
  • The Biggest Winners in this new ranking of fittest cities are: Buffalo, NY and San Antonio, TX
  • The Biggest Loser in this new ranking of fittest cities is: Portland, OR

The full list showing our ranking and the CNN ranking is below. We think you might also enjoy a listing of average biometric levels by metro area that your organization can use as a benchmarking tool.

OHD Rank CNN Rank Metro Area
1 6 Denver, CO
2 9 Boston, MA
3 32 Buffalo, NY
4 1 Washington, D.C.
5 24 New York City, NY
6 16 Cincinnati, OH
7 4 San Francisco, CA
8 11 Hartford, CT
9 26 Kansas City, MO
10 39 Houston, TX
11 23 Los Angeles, CA
12 13 Raleigh, NC
13 31 Las Vegas, NV
14 22 Philadelphia, PA
15 2 Minneapolis, MN
16 33 Milwaukee, WI
17 34 Riverside, CA
18 47 San Antonio, TX
19 20 Austin, TX
20 12 Salt Lake City, UT
21 25 Cleveland, OH
22 21 Pittsburgh, PA
23 14 Atlanta, GA
24 38 Columbus, OH
25 30 Miami, FL
26 48 Oklahoma City, OK
27 43 Charlotte, NC
28 35 Jacksonville, FL
29 8 Seattle, WA
30 3 San Diego, CA
31 19 Baltimore, MD
32 28 Providence, RI
33 5 Sacramento, CA
34 50 Indianapolis, IN
35 18 Richmond, VA
36 27 Tampa, FL
37 41 Dallas, TX
38 37 Pheonix, AZ
39 44 Birmingham, AL
40 42 New Orleans, LA
41 15 Virginia Beach, VA
42 29 St. Louis, MO
43 40 Detroit, MI
44 10 San Jose, CA
45 45 Nashville, TN
46 17 Chicago, IL
47 7 Portland, OR
48 49 Memphis, TN
49 36 Orlando, FL
50 46 Louisville, KY

To find out how to better use objective and measured information to compare your population with others please visit our reporting page.

Or just additional information on Onsite Health Diagnostics please contact us here.