These contenders harness their geography to promote healthy lifestyles
Peter Koch 1 / 5
San Francisco, CA
If you don’t mind a few hills, this densely populated city is incredibly walk- and bike-friendly. And residents must not mind them, because they have the lowest obesity rates in the country. Add to that a bounty of fresh, healthy food from the Central Valley and you’ve got a close contender for the Fittest City.
Like the citizens of its little brother, Portland, Seattle’s outdoorsy residents are never more than an arm’s reach from a natural paradise that promotes physical activity. Mild winters and a fast expanding network of bike routes also boost cycling as a major means of transportation within the city.
With the cleanest air in the country, and 300 days of annual sunshine, the people of Denver have it pretty good. Residents of the Mile-High City report some of the best physical and mental health in the nation (in spite of their Super Bowl defeat), and their active outdoor pursuits and penchant for CrossFit keep them fit and lean.
Founded in 1630, Boston was developed and populated well before cars and highway projects gave birth to suburbs. That means the city is incredibly dense and well served by public transit, so more people get around on foot. Additionally, farm country is just beyond the urban core, promoting a locavore lifestyle that rivals that of any other city.
The District of Columbia is equal to New York City in terms of percentage of land area (19.7%) committed to parks. In the summer, locals can enjoy farmer’s markets and the successful “Healthy Corner Stores” program—and working out at any of the nearly 800 gyms and health clubs on offer.