Least-Fit in USA? Oklahoma City Ranks Unhealthiest Place to Live

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A terrible curse of tornados and bad weather have been the most visible threats to Oklahoma as of late. But a new study cites preventable health issues as a hidden danger to residents of Oklahoma City.

The American College of Sports Medicine has crowned Oklahoma City as the “least fit metro area in the United States.”

The association’s fitness ranking shows 50 metro areas in the United States, with Oklahoma City taking dead last.

Fitness-minded cities with good public transportation options and lots of well-maintained public parks and recreation facilities — including Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Portland, San Francisco, and Denver — filled the top five slots.

But we wanted to know about the bottom, where Oklahoma City has languished in last place from the time the index was created in 2008. Is this the new, literal “Fat City USA?”

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American College of Sports Medicine rankings. Oklahoma City is No. 50 on the list

Digging into the story, we found that Oklahoma City faces a lot of “Improvement Priority Areas,” as the American College of Sports Medicine calls them. Among areas of concern are high percentages of diabetes, obesity, angina, coronary heart disease and asthma.

Low percentages of people in very good or excellent health, low per-capita spending on parks, and a shortage of alternative transportation and recreational facilities also contributed to the poor score.

For example, just 2.6 percent of Oklahoma City residents walk, bike or take public transportation to work. In top-ranked Minneapolis, that number is 7.6 percent.

The goal of the ACSM Fitness Index is to help officials, policy makers, health educators and other professionals understand how their city and its residents stack up against other cities, and what action they can take to help residents lead healthier lives.

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Posted by James Kennedy - 06/19/2013 10:51 AM

This is actually pretty funny to me. I remember reading something about how OK City was among one of the best cities to live in for the outdoorsy person because of parks and stuff nearby. Guess I’ll just need to go there sometime soon to find out for myself.

Posted by Andrew Guthrie - 06/19/2013 01:09 PM

I live in the OKC area and while obviously we still have a long way to go, I have seen a lot of fitness infrastructure come about in the last 10 to 15 years. Many cycling/running trails have been added and several more are planned. Starting with the OKC memorial marathon there has been a surge in interest and participation in running, cycling, and now rowing. There are several farmer’s markets in the area and several organic/natural supermarkets. In the end each person’s health and fitness is a personal choice so even with these changes I listed above the most difficult thing is to create a culture of “health” in your city. We are working on it in OKC!

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