The 50 Fittest Cities Slideshow

The 50 Fittest Cities Slideshow

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The bottom of the list has a high ranking for its golf courses and
farmers markets, but that wasn’t enough to overcome its high obesity
and smoking rates.
Population: 1,278,053
Obesity Rate: 29.5
Excellent or Very Good Health: 46.6
Moderately or More Physically Active: 46.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 5.6
People Who Bike or Walk to Work: 2.1
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Motor City’s economic hard times have spilled into its fitness too. High rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and mental health issues bring down it’s rating. The few bright spots include its farmers markets and playgrounds.
Population: 4,258,832
Obesity Rate: 28.1
Excellent or Very Good Health:  50.9
Moderately or More Physically Active: 46.7
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 6.7
People Who Bike or Walk to Work: 1.6
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Farmers markets and the state requirement for gym classes are the only two positive areas on the report. The city has plenty of park trails for hiking and walking.
Population: 2,194,927
Obesity Rate: 32.8
Excellent or Very Good Health:  47.4
Moderately or More Physically Active: 50.3
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 9
Bike or Walk Commuters: 2.2
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The city is home to the The Derby City Cup, a race of the on- and off-road biking style called “cyclocross”, but its residents are less enthusiastic about biking to work.
Population: 1,294,849
Obesity Rate: 28.4
Excellent or Very Good Health:  49.2
Moderately or More Physically Active: 46.4
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 5.3
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.9
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Memphis sings the blues for this low rating, but it may be good for its good mental health rating. It also sings the praises of its low asthma rate. The city also has more than 60 miles of bike routes.
Population: 1,325,605
Obesity Rate: 33.6
Excellent or Very Good Health: 51.9
Moderately or More Physically Active: 38.4
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 5.1
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.3
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The city’s flagship park Eagle Creek Park offers a shooting range and sailing. Yet this city’s parks and the presence of farmers markets does not save it from a spot in the worst five cities.
Population: 1,778,568
Obesity Rate: 32.1
Excellent or Very Good Health:
50.4
Moderately or More Physically Active: 48.4
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 4.8
People Who Bike or Walk to Work: 2
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The Trinity River Forest in Dallas is the largest urban bottomland forest in the country and an ideal spot for bird watching with over 50 different species. The city reserves a high percentage of city land for parks.
Population: 6,526,584
Obesity Rate: 31
People in Excellent or Very Good Health: 47.1
People at Least Moderately Physically Active: 44.7
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 10.6
People Who Bike or Walk to Work: 1.2
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Houston is home to multiple Bull Riding schools where you can learn to buck with the best for an insane workout. While bull riding isn’t mandatory, Texas does score high on requiring physical education in its schools.
Population: 6,086,538
Obesity Rate: 29.8
Excellent or Very Good Health: 45.1
Moderately or More Physically Active: 46.3
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 13.4
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.6
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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In its 2013 State of the Air survey, the American Lung Association found Miami to be one of the nation’s cleanest cities. City residents reported a low percentage of cases of asthma.
Population: 5,670,125
Obesity Rate: 24.4
Excellent or Very Good Health: 49.2
Moderately or More Physically Active: 36.4
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 5.2
Bike or Walk Commuters: 2.2
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The pride of Birmingham is the city’s botanical gardens that’s home to over 12,000 different types of plants. Birmingham scores well with playgrounds and farmers’ markets.
Population: 1,132,264
Obesity Rate: 33.4
Excellent or Very Good Health: 48.4
Moderately or More Physically Active: 42.6
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 2.5
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.3
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Tampa claims to average 361 days of sun a year. The consistently sunny weather lures a lot of Tampa residents to its beaches or to one of the cities many golf courses.
Population: 2,824,724
Obesity Rate: 26.8
Excellent or Very Good Health: 44.6
Moderately or More Physically Active: 45.4
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 4.8
People Who Bike or Walk to Work: 2.3
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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What doesn’t happen in Vegas is residents taking care of their health. Sin City natives smoke a lot and report a high percentage of diabetes and heart disease. Near the five-mile mark of The Las Vegas Marathon couples can get hitched at the “Run Thru Wedding Chapel”.
Population: 1,969,975
Obesity Rate: 24.4
Excellent or Very Good Health: 48.7
Moderately or More Physically Active: 49.1
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 4.2
People Who Bike or Walk to Work: 2.1
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The Big Easy doesn’t slouch when it comes to biking or walking to work. High levels of partying during Mardi Gras, however, may be a factor in residents reporting low levels of physical exercise.
Population: 1,191,089
Obesity Rate: 32
Excellent or Very Good Health: 46.2
Moderately or More Physically Active: 44.3
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 25.8
Bike or Walk Commuters: 3.9
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Jacksonville is the largest U.S. city in terms of landmass, not including Alaska or Hawaii. With all of this space, Jacksonville residents enjoy a high number of parks and playgrounds.
Population: 1,360,251
Obesity Rate: 30.7
Excellent or Very Good Health: 52
Moderately or More Physically Active: 49.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 11
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.5
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Charlotte is well known for being the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The city is lesser known, however, for creating the worlds largest man-made recirculating river where residents steer whitewater rafts.
Population: 1,795,472
Obesity Rate: 27.8
Excellent or Very Good Health: 51.1
Moderately or More Physically Active: 48.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 5.5
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.7
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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A large number of dog parks make Riverside an ideal city for dog lovers. Riverside is currently expanding the Santa Ana River Trail and Parkway to stretch 100 miles from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.
Population: 4,304,997
Obesity Rate: 26.8
Excellent or Very Good Health: 47.4
Moderately or More Physically Active: 51.9
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 9.3
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.8
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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As the home of Walt Disney World, its no surprise that Orlando has a high number of recreation centers. The city also has a high volume of swimming pools, but swimming with Shamu and other killer whales may no longer be an option.
Population: 2,171,360
Obesity Rate: 26.6
Excellent or Very Good Health: 46.7
Moderately or More Physically Active: 46.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 5
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.8
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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High temperatures in the Valley of the Sun make for a parched city. In the dog days of summer, Phoenix residents cool off at Wet ‘n’ Wild, one of a number of waterparks scattered throughout the city.
Population: 4,263,236
Obesity Rate: 24.8
Excellent or Very Good Health: 50.9
Moderately or More Physically Active: 50.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 15.5
People Who Bike or Walk to Work: 2.7
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Music may factually be good for the mind and soul. Music City residents report notably low numbers of mental health problems.
Population:  1,617,142
Obesity Rate:  32.9
Excellent or Very Good Health:  49.8
Moderately or More Physically Active: 40.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area:  3.4
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.7
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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A short drive outside of St. Louis will take you to Kimmswick, where the largest freshwater cave diving resort in America takes you through the Bonne Terre Mine.
Population:  2,817,355
Obesity Rate:  30.0
Excellent or Very Good Health:  51.6
Moderately or More Physically Active:  52.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area:  9.2
Bike or Walk Commuters: 2
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The largest city in the Buckeye State, Columbus has a low amount of residents who bike to work. It plans to change this by launching a bike share of its own in July called CoGo.
Population:  1,858,464
Obesity Rate:  27.7
Excellent or Very Good Health:  51.2
Moderately or More Physically Active:  48.1
Parkland Out of City Land Area:  8.
Bike or Walk Commuters: 2.5
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Home to Interstate 405, L.A. residents commute daily on the most congested highway in the United States. That may be why residents voluntarily swim with sharks.
Population:  12,944,801
Obesity Rate:  23.7
Excellent or Very Good Health:  49.8
Moderately Physically Active: 41.4
Parkland Out of City Land Area:  14.1
Bike or Walk Commuters:
  3.6
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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K.C. is known as The City of Fountains. It claims the second most fountains in the world, behind only Rome. Its high investment in parks allows for robust parklands.
Population:  2,052,676
Obesity Rate:  30.4
Excellent or Very Good Health:  52.7
Moderately or More Physically Active: 49.1
Parkland Out of City Land Area:  8.7
Bike or Walk Commuters:  1.4
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Windy City residents opt to bike, or walk to work at a high rate. Chicago hopes even more residents will peddle to work with the launch of Divvy, its new bike share system, on June 14.
Population:  9,504,753
Obesity Rate:  27.2
Excellent or Very Good Health:  49.6
Moderately or More Physically Active: 47.9
Parkland Out of City Land Area:  8.6
Bike or Walk Commuters:  3.7
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Home of Miller Brewing, The City of Festivals enjoys its beer. Milwaukee also hosts one of the country’s largest music festivals, Summerfest, and the events Rock ‘n Sole Run kicks off June 15.
Population:  1,562,216
Obesity Rate:  27.4
Excellent or Very Good Health:  54.7
Moderately or More Physically Active: 53 
Parkland Out of City Land Area:  9.8
Bike or Walk Commuters:  3.3
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Not enough residents are inspired to run up the “Rocky Steps” these days in The City of Brotherly Love. Its 50 and over residents have a chance to bolster the city’s middle of the pack ranking by participating in The Philadelphia Games starting June 8.
Population: 5,992,414
Obesity Rate: 27.1
Excellent or Very Good Health: 52.6
Moderately or More Physically Active:  43.9
Parkland Out of City Land Area:  12.9
Bike or Walk Commuters:  4.2
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The Big Apple is attempting to get more people to eat more apples and other produce with its expanding greenmarkets. Last week was also the “soft launch” of its new bike share program.
Population: 19,015,900
Obesity Rate: 23.1
Excellent or Very Good Health: 51
Moderately or More Physically Active: 43.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 19.6
Bike or Walk Commuters: 6.8
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The Erie Canal Trails run through this Upstate New York city, allowing for biking and hiking. Biking is one of the city’s high points in its ranking.
Population: 1,134,039
Obesity Rate: 21.7
Excellent or Very Good Health:   52.4
Moderately or More Physically Active: 45
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 7.1
Bike or Walk Commuters: 3.2
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Rhode Island’s capital boosts Roger Williams Park and Blackstone Boulevard for biking. The city is fairly bike friendly with the completion of its bike plan in 2011.
Population: 1,600,224
Obesity Rate: 26.7
Excellent or Very Good Health:  49.4
Moderately or More Physically Active: 49.8
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 10.6
Bike or Walk Commuters: 3.5
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The southern city is home to Stone Summit, a rock-climbing gym that made our list of 10 Unreal Climbing Destinations. The city did well for its outdoor facilities like golf and tennis courses and its low rate of diabetes..
Population: 5,359,205
Obesity Rate: 25.2
Excellent or Very Good Health:  51.7
Moderately or More Physically Active: 46.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 5.7
People Who Bike or Walk to Work: 1.8
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Virginia’s capital is home to the Dominion Riverrock Adventure Race, a multi-sport race that involves the wilderness navigation skill orienteering with a compass. The city keeps up outdoor facilities to get its residents moving outside.
Population: 1,269,380
Obesity Rate: 30.8
Excellent or Very Good Health:  55.8
Moderately or More Physically Active: 56.5
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 7.3
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.8
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The home of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame is the former home of the men’s world record for a 10K race. Its Top 20 ranking is based on its farmers’ markets and primary care.
Population: 2,068,283
Obesity Rate: 26.4
Excellent or Very Good Health:  52.5
Moderately or More Physically Active: 51.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 6.3
Bike or Walk Commuters: 2.4
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The residents of this waterfront tourist destination keep healthy by fishing and hiking the park trails. Farmers markets help ensure residents get their 5 veggies and fruits a day.
Population: 1,679,894
Obesity Rate: 31
Excellent or Very Good Health:  52
People at Least Moderately Physically Active: 52.5
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 15.9
Bike or Walk Commuters: 2.9
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Edgar Allen Poe’s hometown is 14th in Walk Score’s ranking system. The city also ranks well in this report for people walking or biking to work.
Population: 2,729,110
Obesity Rate: 30.2
Excellent or Very Good Health: 55.8
Moderately or More Physically Active: 48.
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 9.5
People Who Bike or Walk to Work: 2.8
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The former steel capital of the United States is home to the northern end of the Great Allengheny Passage, a trail for bikers and hikers, which extends all the way south into Maryland. It also has plenty of parks, golf courses and playgrounds to keep residents active.
Population: 2,359,746
Obesity Rate: 27.5
Excellent or Very Good Health:  52.1
Moderately or More Physically Active: 52.4
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 8.8
Bike or Walk Commuters: 3.6
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The North Carolina capital is home to the Krispy Kreme Challenge, a race where competitors have to run 5K and eat a dozen doughnuts in an hour.
Population: 1,163,515
Obesity Rate: 32.2
Excellent or Very Good Health:  58.3
Moderately or More Physically Active: 45.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 17.1
Bike or Walk Commuters: 1.7
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The California city is known for its surfing schools, but is also home to the Rock n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and Half-Marathon. It earned its high spot for its parks, farmers markets and low heart disease.
Population: 3,140,069
Obesity Rate: 24.1
Excellent or Very Good Health:  55
Moderately or More Physically Active: 58.1
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 22.6
Bike or Walk Commuters: 3.4
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The Ohio city is heavy on sports facilities like the Western Sports Mall, parks and farmers markets.  The Bunbury Music Festival, held on the banks of the Ohio River, will kickoff its second year on July 12.
Population: 2,138,038
Obesity Rate: 29
Excellent or Very Good Health:  54.7
Moderately or More Physically Active: 47.8
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 13.7
Bike or Walk Commuters: 2.2
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The home to the 2002 Winter Olympics offers biking and climbing in addition to its famous skiing and snowboarding areas. The former mining town offers hiking within city limits.
Population: 1,145,905
Obesity Rate: 25.4
Excellent or Very Good Health:  56.2
Moderately or More Physically Active: 57.7
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 2.9
Bike or Walk Commuters: 2.6
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The Lone Star State makes its debut on the list of fittest cities with its capital. Active Austin residents include its college students. Austin is also home to the Livestrong Marathon, which was won most recently by cancer patient Iram Leon.
Population: 1,783,519
Obesity Rate: 22.6
Excellent or Very Good Health:  55.2
Moderately or More Physically Active: 56.8
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 18.2
Bike or Walk Commuters: 3
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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A third city in California rounds out the top 10 fittest cities. This sunny city offers good weather for biking and hiking at parks like Alum Rock Park, one of the oldest municipal parks in the U.S.
Population: 1,865,450
Obesity Rate: 21.3
Excellent or Very Good Health:  60.7
Moderately or More Physically Active: 47.4
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 14.3
Bike or Walk Commuters: 4.1
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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One fifth of the land in the New England city is made-up of 10 parks, some of them historical. Farmers markets, golf courses and other outdoor features put this city in the Top 10.
Population: 1,213,255
Obesity Rate: 26.3
Excellent or Very Good Health:  55.5
Moderately or More Physically Active: 55.5
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 20.4
Bike or Walk Commuters: 3.1
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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Starbucks’ hometown rates highly for people walking, or biking to work and for its farmers’ markets. Outdoor sports include water sports and biking within city limits. Mount Rainer is close by for climbers and winter sports fans.
Population: 3,500,026
Obesity Rate: 25
Excellent or Very Good Health:  53.5
Moderately or More Physically Active: 50.3
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 10.3
Bike or Walk Commuters: 4.6
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The third state capital on the list so far rates highly for people eating healthy and staying active. Runners who live or travel to the Golden State capital get the chance to get dirty, clean and climb at the Sacramento Cali 5K Foam Fest and Mud Run.
Population: 2,176,235
Obesity Rate: 24.6
Excellent or Very Good Health:  55
Moderately or More Physically Active: 53.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 8.2
Bike or Walk Commuters: 4
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The Boston Marathon’s hometown also boasts a high percentage of parks and is very bike friendly. The mayor’s bike initiative, Boston Bikes, promotes biking to both cut down on traffic and promote fitness.
Population: 4,591,112
Obesity Rate: 21.7
Excellent or Very Good Health:  58.3
Moderately or More Physically Active: 47.5
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 15.8
Bike or Walk Commuters: 6.1
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The capital of the least obese state in the country lands the fifth spot on the list. Outdoor activity rates highly among natives and tourists alike for skiing, hiking and water sports. The Mile-High City sells itself as “an outdoor recreation paradise”.
Population: 2,599,504
Obesity Rate: 21.5
Excellent or Very Good Health:  55.4
Moderately or More Physically Active: 55.8
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 6
Bike or Walk Commuters: 4.3
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The Bay-area has plenty to brag about in its fittest rating.  Its low obesity rate and high rate of people walking or biking to work lands it the fourth spot.  The city is also home to the historic Bay to Breakers, a century-old 12k race across San Francisco.
Population: 4,391,037
Obesity Rate:
18.6
Excellent or Very Good Health: 60.5
Moderately or More Physically Active: 48.6
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 18
Bike or Walk Commuters: 6.2
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The fittest city on the West Coast has one of the highest percentages of people who ditch the car to walk or bike to work. The city is incredibly bike friendly with city bike plans going back to 1996. It also gets high marks for primary care.
Population: 2,262,605
Obesity Rate: 24.3
Excellent or Very Good Health: 55.8
Moderately or More Physically Active: 54.7
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 16.2
Bike or Walk Commuters: 5.7
*All numbers except population are percentages.  

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The nation’s capital is the fitness runner-up of the country.  Mental and heart health rank high in the city. Farmers’ markets and the percentage of people eating their five veggies and fruits a day gets high marks too.
Population: 5,703,948
Obesity Rate: 25.1
Excellent or Very Good Health: 60.9
Moderately or More Physically Active: 75.2
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 19.5
Bike or Walk Commuters: 3.8
*All numbers except population are percentages.

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The twin cities take the top spot for fittest city. Minneapolis-St. Paul is a very bike-friendly city, famed for its unsanctioned alley cat bike races and its groundbreaking Nice Ride bike share program.  It also boosts ratings for farmers markets and parks.
Population: 3,318,486
Obesity Rate: 24.6
Excellent or Very Good Health: 60.4
Moderately or More Physically Active: 54.5
Parkland Out of City Land Area: 14.6
Bike or Walk Commuters: 2.9
*All numbers except population are percentages.