Health & Fitness

In farm-to-fork capital, we need more fruits and veggies – but we’re still pretty fit

In the farm-to-fork capital, we could eat more fruits and vegetables, according to a national fitness index that rated the Sacramento region the 11th most in-shape city in the nation.

The annual American Fitness Index released by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation showed that Sacramento moved up two spots on the annual study of cities and their residents.

The top seven spots were taken by the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, followed by Washington, D.C., San Francisco-Oakland, Seattle-Tacoma, San Jose, Boston and Denver.

The top cities finished well ahead of the pack and were mostly graded high due to superior lower rates of smoking and heart disease deaths, higher physical activity, more eating of fruits and vegetables and higher spending on parks.

The index has been around for 10 years. It compares health behaviors, chronic health problems, parks and farmers markets and recreational facilities.

“While the improvements we are seeing are worth celebrating, we know there is still more that can be done,” said Dr. Craig Samitt, Anthem chief clinical officer.

Last year, Sacramento placed 13th. This year, the region, which includes El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties, still lagged in some target goals.

The region declined on too many days of poor mental health, percent of residents with high blood pressure, death rate from heart disease and death rate from diabetes.

The region did well when it came to physical activity or exercise, dog parks and park playgrounds.

While the Sacramento area did well in terms of having a good number of farmer’s markets, the percentage of residents consuming two fruits per day and three vegetables per day was short of the recommended targets.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews