America's Fittest Small Cities

Kahului, Hawaii tops our small cities list; where does your city stack up?

Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Our ranking of America’s 25 fittest cities highlights the healthiest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the country based on factors like exercise levels, obesity rates, general health and wellness indices, and even more indirect indicators of fitness such as cities' smoking, drinking and stress levels.

But what about cities with smaller populations? We felt they deserved a separate ranking. When collecting data, in addition to metropolitan statistical areas, surveys also consider micropolitan statistical areas as a standard unit. These areas are categorized as urban clusters whose populations fall within the range of 10,000 to 50,000 people. In other words: small cities.

We applied the same methodology used to create our rank of the 25 fittest cities to compile this list. In the same sense, instead of simply assembling a reverse list of the fattest small cities based on obesity rates we consulted data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and the American College of Sports Medicine's Fitness Index, focusing on all of the elements mentioned above.

Just like with our ranking of the fittest cities, our results here once again show that locations with easy access to the great outdoors tend to house residents who lead active lifestyles. Whether fitness fanatics tend to flock to these areas or the landscapes encourage inhabitants to move more has yet to be determined, but we do know that small cities like Kahului, Hawaii and Bozeman, Mont. (our number one and two fittest small cities respectively) are home to populations who demonstrate healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, high general health status rankings, and an overall inclination to meet recommended exercise guidelines.

Click here to see America's 10 fittest small cities.

Once again, our aim here is to celebrate the American cities that place a high priority on fitness by providing easy access to resources that encourage good health, and according to our own Fitness Index, the following 10 small cities best meet that mark.