2009 Fittest Cities: #4 Denver, CO

  • Fitness Centers & Sport Stores: C+
  • Nutrition: C-
  • Sports Participation: A
  • TV Viewing: A-
  • Overweight/Sedentary: A-
  • Junk Food: C
  • Air Quality: A-
  • Geography: A-
  • Commute: D-
  • Parks & Open Space: A-
  • City Rec Facilities: B
  • Access to Healthcare: C
  • Motivation: A
  • Mayor & City Initiatives: A-
  • State Obesity Initiatives: C+
  • What's good
    Mayor John W. Hickenlooper sets a positive example, exercising as often as 3 days per week.

    According to the CDC, 19 percent of residents in the Denver area are clinically obese. The national average is 25.19 percent.

    The CDC says 55 percent of adults here get either 30 minutes of moderate exercise five or more days a week or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three or more times per week. In the average city in our survey, 49.6 percent of adults exercise at these levels.

    According to Nielsen Media Research, TV viewers in the Denver television market spend 10 percent less time in front of the tube than average among cities in our survey.

    Air quality here is among the best of any city in our survey, according to EPA air quality standards.

    Denver's park acreage per capita is 101 percent higher than average and the 5th highest in our survey. Research has found a connection between access to parks and green space and reduced obesity rates.

    Denver residents participate in sports much more than average - 32 percent more than average, in fact.

    Colorado is one of 28 states that participate in a CDC-sponsored program to reduce obesity and other chronic diseases.

    Denver gained points in our Motivation category for high participation rates in running, biking and walking despite climate extremes.

    Golfers can choose from 7 city-owned courses. Relative to population, that's more than almost anywhere else we surveyed.

    In a per capita comparison of public pools, Denver has one pool for every 21,012 residents - 53 percent more than average in our survey.

    5 percent of Denver residents practice martial arts, the highest participation rate in our survey.

    Approximately 18.8 percent of Denver residents ride stationary cycles for exercise. That's 43 percent more than average and the highest rate in our survey.

    Approximately 25 percent of Denver residents have a health club membership. That's 45 percent more than average, and the highest rate in our survey.

    Approximately 7 percent of Denver residents do Pilates. That's the highest rate in our survey.

    Denver dwellers are 553 percent more likely than average to go snowshoeing, the highest in our survey.

    Denver locals are 264 percent more likely than average to go snowboarding - the highest rate in our survey.

    Denver residents are into fitness bicycling - they do it about 114 percent more than average, the highest overall rate among cities in our survey.

    Elliptical motion trainers are about 82 percent more popular than average in Denver, the highest overall rate among cities in our survey.

    People in Denver are 189 percent more likely than average to play lacrosse.

    Approximately 21 percent of Denver residents exercise with dumbbells. That's 61 percent more than average and the 2nd highest rate in our survey.

    Denver residents are 53 percent more likely than average to have a home gym, and the 2nd highest rate in our survey.

    Denver residents are 75 percent more likely than average to participate in yoga/tai chi. Compared to other cities, Denver is the 2nd most popular place in our survey for these activities.

    Denver residents are 85 percent more likely than average to go hiking. That's the 2nd highest participation rate in our survey.

    Locals are 84 percent more likely than average to do aquatic exercise.

    Residents of Denver are 188 percent more likely than average to ski, the 2nd highest rate of any city in our survey.

    You'll find a higher percentage of mountain bikers in Denver than almost anywhere else in our survey - 11.5 percent of residents. The national average is 2.5 percent.

    18.3 percent of Denver residents run or jog - 3rd highest in our survey.

    Denver dwellers are 24 percent more likely than average to use treadmills - the 3rd highest in our survey.

    What Isn't
    Denver residents are 57 percent less likely than average to play recreational baseball. That's the 4th lowest participation rate in our survey.

    Almost nobody in Denver participates in aerobic dancing; the participation rate here is the lowest of any city in our survey.

    Colorado state law limits or prohibits obesity-related lawsuits against food manufacturers and restaurants.

    Back to 2009 Fittest/Fattest Cities

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