Advancing health through science, education and medicine

The 2016 AFI Data Report: An Overview

By: Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM
AFI Advisory Board Chair

San Francisco and Miami, Dallas and Washington, D.C., Portland and Boston. These cities are separated by great distances across the country. In many ways, they are vastly different cities. However, despite their differences and distance, these cities and others are all connected by the ACSM American Fitness Index® (AFI).

At first glance, the AFI Data Report clearly has a great amount of information for the reader. Since its first publication in 2008, AFI's purpose has been to help cities assess and evaluate health and fitness. To do so, each year the 50 most populated metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs; referred to as cities, including the suburbs, for most of us) in the United States are ranked and scored based on scientific evidence of health and fitness. Read More.

Making Your Community a Fit Community

By Barbara Ainsworth, Ph.D., MPH, FACSM
AFI Advisory Board Vice-Chair

 The annual AFI Data Report offers the full picture of a community's health status by providing both individual data (engaging in physical activity, smoking status, fruit/vegetable intake, etc.) and city-wide data (access to recreation centers, walkability, public transportation, etc.). When translating this picture of health into the AFI Data Report rankings, the higher ranking cities can be seen to have more strengths and resources that support healthy living and fewer challenges that hinder it. The opposite is true for cities near the bottom of the ranking. Another way of looking at it is communities that are ranked toward the top are considered to have strong community fitness, a concept analogous to individuals having strong personal fitness. This is because a community that invests in making the healthy choice the easy choice will ultimately influence health outcomes and lead to more fit residents. Read more.

Fit Kids Can Create Fit Cities

By: Craig Samitt, M.D., M.B.A.
Chief Clinical Officer, Anthem, Inc

For the past nine years, the Anthem Foundation has proudly supported the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) American Fitness Index® (AFI). In that time, we have watched the AFI Data Report become a recognized and credible resource that can positively influence health and well-being in communities across the country. We've also created a number of resources to help support this effort, including the AFI Community Action Guide. Read more.

AFI in Action: Charlotte, North Carolina

"Back in 2013, the release of the AFI Data Report positioned Charlotte, North Carolina 36th out of the 50 largest metro areas in the country, hardly a ranking to brag about.."

That was precisely the reaction of Michael Tarwater, CEO of Carolinas Healthcare System and soon to be chair of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest and most active chambers in the U.S. For Tarwater, immediate questions loomed: Why were Charlotte's rankings so low? What's behind these rankings? What factors comprise the index? And probably most important, what has to happen for Charlotte to improve in the rankings? Chamber leadership recognized that building toward a reputation as a healthy community could, in fact, positively influence economic development, corporate relocation, workforce attraction and workforce retention. As a result, the Chamber decided to establish the "Healthy Charlotte Council" to give the theme greater longevity and to actually integrate the Healthy Charlotte Council's efforts into the Chamber's overall program of work. Read more.


Q: Why was the AFI program created?

ACSM created the AFI Data Report to help communities identify opportunities to improve the health of their residents and expand community assets to better support active, healthy lifestyles. The overall goal of the AFI Data Report is to provide data to the 50 largest MSAs to promote active lifestyles by supporting and informing local programs to develop a sustainable, healthy community culture. Read more.


Featured Publication

 This revised edition contains critical content for those studying to enter the fitness and rehabilitation fields, as well as those already working who need to align their practice to industry standards…

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