Interact for Health

Surveys rank region in fitness and parks; we continue to lag in healthy behaviors

(Jun 5th, 2017)

The American College of Sports Medicine's American Fitness Index (AFI) and the Trust for Public Land's ParkScore rankings for 2017 have been released. The good news: Greater Cincinnati is holding steady in both surveys. The bad news: Greater Cincinnati is holding steady in both surveys, meaning we haven't improved in healthy behaviors or park access.

In the AFI, Cincinnati moved up one spot in 2017 to 22 among the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas. The survey ranks cities on both personal health and the community/environment. As usual, Cincinnati did great on community/environment, which looks at the availability of parkland, swimming pools, playgrounds, farmers markets, etc., ranking third in the country. Cincinnati has ranked in the top three in this category since the AFI started in 2009.

For personal health, though the region's ranking rose nine spots to 39, Greater Cincinnati did not markedly improve in exercise, healthy eating, smoking or diabetes.
It's worth noting that the community/environment ranking is based on the parks, pools and farmers markets of the city of Cincinnati only and not other communities in our 15-county Metropolitan Statistical Area. So it's unknown whether the resources in other communities in the region would help or hurt Cincinnati's ranking.

Meanwhile, the city of Cincinnati maintained its 10th place ParkScore ranking. These rankings assess how well the 100 largest U.S. cities are meeting the need for parks. Cincinnati again ranked high on park facilities and spending, but was in the middle on access and acreage. Access in this survey is defined as "the percentage of the population living within a 10-minute (1/2 mile) walk of a public park."

So it seems as if Cincinnati is in a bit of a rut when it comes to healthy behaviors and park access. What do you think can be done to improve in those areas? Check out the American Fitness Index ratings and the ParkScore rankings and then share your thoughts in the comments below!