Ahhh, college. Aside from the esteemed honor of earning a university diploma, higher education tends to conjure up images of all-nighters, buffet-style campus dining, Sundays where the only time you left your bed was to pay the delivery guy for your Chinese food, and of course, beer. Lots and lots of beer.
Since none of the aforementioned is particularly “healthy”—well, we can quibble about beer—it certainly makes a lot of sense to consider a school’s attitude towards health and fitness before committing to four years in an environment that’s bound to bombard you with some pretty unhealthy temptations. You know, so you can at least try to balance it all out.
Our list of the 50 Fittest Colleges includes schools—many of which are among the country’s top academic institutions—that place a special emphasis on keeping students active, promoting athletics and providing healthy dining options. These are schools whose students know that there’s more to mealtime than ramen noodles and Chinese takeout, and who make a point of frequenting the gym just as often as they do the bar.
Did you know that Penn State is home to America’s second-largest stadium? Or that the University of Nebraska claims 23 different national championship titles across five different sports? What about the fact that the University of Wisconsin was voted by the Princeton Review as the school with the best health services? And we bet you never knew that Dartmouth just happens to be home to a private 27,000 acre recreation preserve and a student-run organic farm that supplies some of its campus with food. All these factors and more helped us determine which colleges in the U.S. are the fittest of the fit.
We compiled and compared data from a variety of lists and rankings. We evaluated athletic facilities and team sports participation, campus eateries and overall quality of student life. In the end we ranked and scored each important aspect of fitness, health, and wellness to bring you our list of the country’s 50 most fit colleges.