Ray Boren, For Deseret News

Each year the American Fitness Index puts together a snapshot of the overall health of metropolitan areas throughout America. The researchers create a rank for each area based on different factors ranging from access to fitness-related resources to the smoking rate. The report outlines the health strengths and opportunities of each metropolitan area, as well challenges to improved fitness and health.

15 Salt Lake City, UT
Ray Boren, For Deseret News

Boasting lower unemployment percentages and a higher percent of physically active people, at least at a moderate level, Salt Lake City ranks number 15. The state requirements for Physical Education classes are on a higher level in Salt Lake City and there is also a higher percentage of people who bicycle or walk to work.

An increased amount of dog parks, golf courses, tennis courts and park playgrounds, add to the healthy environment in Salt Lake City. Fewer residents are smoking and experience lower percentages of angina or coronary heart disease and diabetes.

There is a higher percent of people who experience days when mental health was not good during the past 30 days in Salt Lake City. Also, there are fewer farmers' markets, ball diamonds and swimming pools per capita, as well as lower park-related expenditures per capita.

14 Cincinnati, OH
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The higher percent of city land area used as parkland contributes to the number 14 ranking of Cincinnati, OH. Other factors are more farmers' markets, dog parks and golf courses per capita.

Cincinnati has a higher level of state requirements for their Physical Education classes and higher park-related expenditures per capita.

There is a higher percentage of people currently smoking, as well as higher percent of people with angina or coronary heart disease.

13 San Diego, CA
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

Ranked number 13, San Diego, CA has a lower percentage of households that fall below the poverty level and a higher percentage of people who are at least moderately physically active.

There is a lower percent of people smoking, obese and who have asthma in San Diego. A lower death rate for cardiovascular disease and diabetes are health strengths in this metropolitan area.

The higher percent of days when mental health was not good during the past 30 days, is a health challenge for San Diego, as well as fewer park playgrounds and swimming pools.

12 Richmond, VA
AP Photo/Wayne Scarberry

In Richmond, VA, ranked number 12, residents experienced both lower percentages of days when physical health and mental health were not good during the past 30 days.

There are more ball diamonds, dog parks and park playgrounds in Richmond, as well as a lower percent of people who suffer from asthma and diabetes.

Richmond has a higher percent of people who are currently smoking, obese and who bicycle or walk to work.

11 San Jose, CA
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The residents of San Jose, CA, which is ranked number 11, experienced a lower percentage of days when their physical health was not good during the last 30 days, as well as lower percentages of obesity and asthma.

San Jose has a higher percentage of city land area designated for parkland and a higher percent of people who bicycle or walk to work.

There are, however, fewer people using public transportation, fewer golf courses, park units and swimming pools per capita.

10 Sacramento, CA
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Ranked number 10 is Sacramento, CA, where there is a higher percentage of people who bicycle or walk to work and eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

There is a lower percent of people who are currently smoking, lower death rate for diabetes and more park unites per capita in Sacramento.

In Sacramento there is a higher unemployment percent and people with asthma, as well as fewer swimming pools and tennis courts per capita.

9 Virginia Beach, VA
AP Photo/Steve Helber

As number nine, Virginia Beach, VA has a higher percent of city land area and parkland. They also have higher park-related expenditures and more acres of parkland per capita.

In Virginia Beach there is a higher percentage of people who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day, as well as a lower percentage of people with angina or coronary heart disease.

There is a higher percent of people who smoke in Virginia Beach, as well as a fewer farmers' markets per capita and a lower percent of people who use public transportation to go to work.

8 Seattle, WA
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Access to more farmers' markets, dog parks and tennis courts create healthy options for Seattle, WA, and bring its ranking up to number eight. Other contributors are the low percent of unemployed individuals, a higher median household income and a higher number of primary health care providers per capita.

There is a higher percent of people who bicycle or walk to work, as well as a higher level of state requirements for Physical Education classes.

A few challenges Seattle faces are fewer recreation centers and swimming pools per capita.

7 Hartford, CT
AP Photo/Bob Child

In Hartford, CT, which is ranked number seven, there is a higher percentage of people who eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. There is also a higher percentage of people who are physically active at least moderately.

Residents of Hartford have access to more farmers' markets, ball diamonds and swimming pools per capita. They also experience lower death rates for diabetes and a lower percentage of obesity.

There is, however, a higher percentage of people with asthma, angina or coronary heart disease and a lower percent of people bicycle or walk to work.

6 San Francisco, CA
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The lower percentage of obesity, smoking and angina or coronary heart disease contribute to the number six ranking of San Francisco, CA. In addition, there are more farmers' markets per capita, a higher percent of people using public transportation to go to work and a higher median household income.

San Francisco has a lower percentage of households below the poverty level, lower death rate for diabetes and a higher number of primary care providers per capita.

The lower number of ball diamonds, park units and recreation centers per capita, create a challenge for San Francisco residents, as well as a higher percentage of days when their mental health was not good during the past 30 days.

5 Denver, CO
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Ranked number five is Denver, CO with strengths in areas including: lower death rates for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, lower unemployment percentages and a higher percent of people physically active at least moderately.

There are also more golf courses, park units and swimming pools per capita, as well as a higher amount of park-related expenditures being made per capita.

The low level of state requirements for Physical Education classes and the lower percent of city land area used for parkland creates health challenges for Denver.

4 Portland, OR
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In Portland, OR there is a higher percent of people who are physically active at least moderately, which is a factor in their number four ranking. They also have a lower percentage of people with angina or coronary heart disease, a higher percent of city land area designated for parkland and more ball diamonds per capita.

Portland residents have a lower percent of households which fall below the poverty level. This metropolitan area also boasts more ball diamonds, dog parks and golf courses per capita.

There is a higher percentage of unemployment, people with asthma and a higher death rate for diabetes in Portland, as well as a lower level of state requirements for Physical Education classes.

3 Boston, MA
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The low percentage of obese individuals and low death rate for cardiovascular disease and diabetes make Boston, MA third in the nation. They also have higher park-related expenditures, more ball diamonds and park playgrounds per capita.

The lower percentage of smokers, higher percent of people bicycling or walking to work and higher number of primary health care providers per capita, attribute to the overall health level in Boston.

Boston's challenges are the higher percent of people with asthma, fewer tennis courts and fewer acres of parkland.

2 Washington, DC
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Washington, DC has a low unemployment rate and a lower percentage of households that fall below the poverty level, which add to its number two ranking. It also has a higher percentage of people eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day, and a lower percent of obesity.

With a higher number of primary health care providers per capita, this gives Washington, DC greater access, and in turn raises their overall health levels. Residents also have access to more park units per capita, recreation centers and swimming pools.

Washington, DC, however, has fewer dog parks, park playgrounds and golf courses per capita.

1 Minneapolis, MN
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With strengths like lower unemployment rates and higher household incomes, Minneapolis was ranked number one. Minneapolis also held lower percentages in several areas including: smoking, asthma, diabetes and death rate for cardiovascular disease.

Minneapolis has a higher percentage of people who bicycle or walk to work, more farmers' markets per capita and a higher level of state requirements for Physical Education classes.

The downside to this metropolitan area are the fewer acres of parkland and swimming pools per capita.

*Note: Ranking was determined by the American Fitness Index.