Memphis is getting more dog parks; San Antonio has slightly lowered its death rate from diabetes, and in Orlando, the percent of residents walking or biking to work has nudged upwards, according to a new trends report released today. These cities — all ranked among the least fit cities in the United States — are among the 50 largest US metropolitan areas that the report highlights key health and fitness changes over the past five years.
The report by the The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) analyzes health behaviors and community environment, many both directly — and indirectly – relate to cancer prevention.
Health behavior indicators included looking at how many vegetables and fruits residents ate, how active they were in the previous month, and if they were smokers. Then the authors gathered data on chronic health problems of the residents, such as the percent of residents that were obese, and/or diagnosed with diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Environmental indicators of good health included the numbers of recreational centers, parks, tennis courts and farmer’s markets were in the city.
For cancer, which shares many risk factors with diabetes and heart disease, AICR estimates that approximately one-third of the most common cancers can be prevented if all US residents were to stay lean, eat a healthy diet, and be active.
The report highlights the top four improvements for each city, giving rankings for residents and the community. The goal is to understand the health of metropolitan areas so that improvements can be made, note the authors.
Want to see how your city rates? Here’s a guide by city, and there’s also an interactive map. ACSM also offers an action guide cities (and residents) can use.