Out-of-Shape Accusations

Dallas gets failing grade on national fitness index

Dallas gets failing grade on national fitness index

Dallas Marathon
Popular races like the Dallas Marathon aren't enough to boost the city's overall fitness ranking. Photo by Robert Bostick

Don't be fooled by the throngs of people running on Katy Trail or biking around White Rock Lake. According to the experts, Dallas gets a failing grade for fitness. Out of the 50 metropolitan areas surveyed, Dallas came in at No. 38. That equates to an overall score of 42.6, on a scale of 100.

To determine the rankings, American College of Sports Medicine researchers examined preventative health behaviors, chronic disease levels and community resources that support physical activity.

 Dallas earned an excellent rating in just one area: percentage of city as parkland.

Although the American Fitness Index has been around since 2008, the 2014 rankings include new variables and are therefore not comparable to the six previous reports.

This year, researchers culled data from the U.S. Census, the CDC and community Walk Scores. Cities that fared similarly to Dallas include New Orleans and Las Vegas. 

Dallas earned an excellent rating in just one area: percentage of city as parkland. All other categories went downhill from there, including percentage of residents with diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Not surprisingly, these health problems went hand-in-hand with poor health habits such as not getting enough exercise or meeting requirements for fruit and vegetables.

Washington, D.C., came in at No.1, with a score of 77.3. Minneapolis, Portland, Denver and San Francisco rounded out the top five. Austin earned the highest ranking in Texas with a No. 14 slot and a score of 60.6. Houston slid in ahead of Dallas at No. 35.