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Index ranks Houston area low in health and fitness throughout the U.S.

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The American Fitness Index™, compiled by the American College of Sport Medicine, ranks the Houston metropolitan area quite low on the list of 50 urban areas throughout the U.S.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan statistical area took the top spot on the American Fitness Index™ for the third consecutive year while Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown was ranked 43rd overall among the largest metropolitan areas.

The sixth annual report evaluates the preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, health care access and community resources and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles.

The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown MSA ranked 45th on the list in 2012.

Factors in the low ranking of the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown MSA include health behaviors, chronic health conditions health care access, recreational facilities, park-related expenditures, physical education requirements and primary health care providers.

"We have issued the American Fitness Index each year since 2008 to help health advocates and community leaders improve the quality of life in their hometowns," said Walter Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, chair of the AFI Advisory Board. "As urban areas attract more and more residents, it's imperative for cities to create a built environment, fund amenities and form policies that get residents active and encourage healthy lifestyles."

On the Web:

Full 2013 ACSM American Fitness Index™ report -- http://www.americanfitnessindex.org/docs/reports/2013_afi_report_final.pdf

2013 ACSM American Fitness Index™ for Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan statistical area -- http://www.americanfitnessindex.org/docs/reports/houston.pdf

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