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ACSM Releases 16th Annual Fitness Index

The top 100 fittest cities in 2023

The world’s largest sports medicine and exercise science organization – the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) – released on July 18, 2023, the 16th annual American Fitness Index. Supported by Elevance Health Foundation, the Fitness Index ranks the 100 fittest cities and offers data for city leaders to make potentially life-changing decisions in policy, systems and environmental-change strategies that drive fitness and health improvements for the people they serve.

2023 ACSM American Fitness Index Infographic for the Top 10 Fittest Cities in America

Asher Agency, for the 9th consecutive year, is supporting ACSM in creating content and distribution strategies to enhance the reach of the Fitness Index. This announcement is by far the most visible and widely read research ACSM conducts for its members and the general public.

Our team is motivated and enthusiastic to work on dynamic projects like this, because it stretches our minds and makes a positive difference to society.

Let’s look at some of the compelling factors that make the ACSM/Elevance Health partnership one that achieves its objectives and sets a positive example:

The Fitness Index is science-based

The Fitness Index Advisory Committee uses evidence-based indicators from a range of trusted sources to rank the most fit cities and determine its expert analysis.

The focus is not just on topline results

Attention is always on the most fit city — Arlington, VA — and those who join it in the prestigious Top 10; however, there is also attention to cities that made significant jumps in the rankings (this year, Riverside, CA. advanced 18 spots (from No. 90 to No. 72).

Likewise, those cities at the bottom of the rankings are also under the microscope (North Las Vegas, NV, Louisville, KY, Bakersfield, CA, Wichita, KS, and Oklahoma City, OK).

The balance of consistency and change in the Fitness Index and earned media landscape

Each year, the Fitness Index yields insightful information on current trends and ways in which exercise can boost health and mental well being. From impacts of the pandemic to pedestrian safety and availability of fresh fruits and vegetables and deteriorating mental health, ACSM captures the pulse of America.

Our huge takeaway this year is the high prevalence of chronic disease in America. Six in 10 citizens in the 100 fittest cities face chronic conditions, and four out of 10 have two or more. Chronic disease can contribute to anxiety and depression, exacerbating the growing number of people struggling with mental health. raising the call to action for more Americans to exercise and be more physically fit.

Also, cities with the highest rates of one chronic disease tend to also have high rates of other chronic diseases.

The call to action is meaningful and clear

Americans are still not moving enough. Research suggests that to improve physical and mental health, prevent disease and disability, an enhanced quality of life for all Americans, we must create a culture that integrates physical activity into our daily lives.

This underscores the need for local community leaders to step up and make bold spending choices, policy decisions and infrastructure changes to increase opportunities for residents to be physically active and healthy. Collective actions and resources at the community level greatly influence the health choices available to us, and the Fitness Index is a road map to guide leaders at all levels.

Strong trust and creativity levels encourage collaboration

While we have developed a wonderful rhythm for compiling, developing content (summary report, media advisory, news release, media training of spokespeople, infographic with social media support) and distributing the Fitness Index, there is a great deal of trust as well as creativity in ideas we share in how to up our game each year (as well as the number of earned media placements).

Working on accounts like this is what gets us out of bed in the morning and motivates us to work so hard. At Asher Agency, we seek clients who share these attributes and, when we discover them, we want to grow and thrive with them.

All of us at Asher salute ACSM and Elevance Foundation for developing this meaningful data and analysis. We encourage you to share your Fitness Index favorite angles on social media using the hashtag #100FitCities.

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