San Francisco Rated the Fittest City – So What?

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A recently released report by the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) and the WellPoint/Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation has pegged the bay-side city of San Francisco as the fittest city in America, narrowly edging out its West Coast pal Seattle.  As interesting as this may be, what does it really mean?

When you pull back the covers of the report, things aren’t really all that rosy.  This ‘fittest city in America’ still has 20% of its population classified as obese, and only 31% eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day.  Only 59% of the population is considered to be in ‘very good health’.  Numbers like these would make me hesitant to label anything as being fit.

In addition, San Francisco is #1 out of a grand total of 16 competing cities, as the report only looked at the very largest cities in the country.  My initial thought was ‘wow, #1 is pretty good considering how many cities there are in the U.S.’  But it’s really a very limited comparison.  Saying that S.F. is the fittest city in this small group is kind of like calling your nephew Jimmy the thinnest person at fat camp this summer.  To me, there’s not really all that much meaning in comparing one overweight, overcongested, polluted mega city to another.

But it’s not all bad.  At least the report is yet another way of highlighting what we all should be doing.  Being active, keeping our weight down, and eating fresh foods including lots of fruits and vegetables.  In the end, it really is an individual battle that we all have to fight, not one that our city or town can fight for us.

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