NewsHealth / May 29, 2014

Indy Again Ranks Low In Health And Fitness

Jill Sheridan
Indy Again Ranks Low In Health And Fitness

An annual report finds the Indianapolis area and its residents still have a long way to go in the health and fitness department. The American College of Sports Medicine's American Fitness Index ranks Indianapolis 47th out of 50 major metro areas with a failing score of 32.3 out 100 possible points. 

The 7th annual report compiles information on preventative health behaviors, levels of chronic disease and community resources that support physical activity.  Ryan Puckett, spokesman for the American Fitness Index, says they use 31 different data indicators to create the list.

"Thos indicators really fall into two different health categories," explains Puckett, "there's personal health indicators and then there's community and environmental indicators."

The results include the entire metro area, not only Indianapolis.  Puckett says a city's built envirnonment plays into the rankings.

"Recreational facilities, school policies for physical education and then we take at how much we are spending on our parks in the area," says Puckett, "this is where Indianapolis actually ranks at the bottom of the fifty areas of community and environmental areas."

That means Indianapolis recieves a ranking of 50 for the community while our people received a personal heath rank of 44.  

Puckett says they gather data from sources like the CDC and are able to answer a variety of questions.

"How many people say that they walk or bike to work? We're below average there. How many people use public transportation to get to work? Only 1.2%." emphasizes Puckett.

He explains that the 2014 rankings include new variables so even though Indy dropped two spots from 2013, comparisons can't be made.

"Looking at what we did last year versus what we did this year is not really fair to do because we're really not comparing apples to apples here, we're kind of comparing apples to applesauce." says Puckett. 

The ACSM is an Indianapolis based organization that integrates research to provide practical uses for exercise science.  The list is designed to assist community efforts to improve health and fitness. 

Washington D.C. takes the top spot and Memphis lands in the bottom this year.