More Health Rankings: Boston Sixth Fittest City

The American College of Sports Medicine released their fittest city rankings today.


Boston is fit, no matter what the rankings say. Photo via Shutterstock

In just a few days, the city of Boston went from first place to sixth.

We’ve reported a lot on rankings, from Forbes, to NerdWallet, to MapMyFitness, to Shape magazine. Usually it is good news, like being ranked in the top three for health and fitness categories. But today we got some alarming news. Boston dropped from being ranked the number one fittest city by NerdWallet to being ranked sixth by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). And let’s face it, the latter probably has better credentials. And worse, the sixth place ranking is a drop from being third the year before.

In the report, called the American Fitness Index, the Boston area (Boston, Cambridge, and Quincy) ranked well in everything from the big issues—low death rates from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, high percentages of citizens with health insurance, and lots of primary care providers—to things like having many commuters who use public transportation and lots of farmers’ markets, ball diamonds, and parks per capita. Unfortunately, there were some issues that account for our drop into sixth place, too. The report says we need to improve on things like the number of residents who smoke and have asthma, as well as build more public utilities like tennis courts, recreation centers, dog parks, and swimming pools.

If you ask us, Boston is doing a pretty good job, sixth place ranking or not. We’re doing great in some of the most serious issues (the report says 58.3 percent of our residents are in very good or excellent health, a number very close to the target goal of 61 percent) and many of the areas we need to improve on are things that are difficult for an urban area like Boston because of space. So cut us a little slack, American Fitness Index—we may not have a lot of dog parks, but our citizens are healthy.