Study: Or­lando res­i­dents must get fit­ter

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By Roger Sim­mons Staff Writer Roger Sim­mons, Con­tent Di­rec­tor for Au­di­ence En­gage­ment, is a mem­ber of the Or­lando Sen­tinel Com­mu­nity Con­ver­sa­tions Team. He can be reached at rsim­mons@ or­lan­dosen­

If you live in Or­lando, it may be time to in­crease those gym work­outs and start eat­ing more fruits and veg­eta­bles.

The city fin­ished 38th in the na­tion in the Amer­i­can Fit­ness Index rank­ings, re­leased by the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Sports Medicine.

The ACSM’s Amer­i­can Fit­ness Index graded the na­tion’s 100 largest cities on a num­ber of health-re­lated cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing fit­ness, nu­tri­tion, dis­ease and recre­ational op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Arlington, Va., fin­ished No. 1 in the index, fol­lowed by Minneapolis, Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Madi­son, Wis., and Port­land, Ore.

Among Florida cities, Or­lando fin­ished be­hind St. Pe­ters­burg (ranked No. 23 in the na­tion), Miami (No. 25) and Tampa (No. 37) but ahead of Hialeah (No. 53) and Jack­sonville (No. 64).

Or­lando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the city is work­ing to aid res­i­dents in their quest to get healthy.

“Mak­ing fit­ness more ac­ces­si­ble for our res­i­dents is one of the city’s con­tin­u­ous com­mit­ments through an ar­ray of parks, neigh­bor­hood cen­ters and ameni­ties en­cour­ag­ing the com­mu­nity to get ac­tive outdoors and also par­tic­i­pate in group fit­ness,” he said. “This ef­fort in­cludes no­cost fit­ness sta­tions at more than 10 of our parks and ex­pand­ing our city’s bike trails.”

The need for bet­ter fit­ness and bet­ter nu­tri­tion were among the high­lights of the re­port’s in­for­ma­tion about Or­lando.

It found that 73.3 per­cent of Or­lando res­i­dents have ex­er­cised in the past 30 days, but only a lit­tle more than half — 51.1 per­cent — meet aer­o­bic ac­tiv­ity guide­lines. (Madi­son, Wisc., topped the na­tion with 90.9 per­cent of res­i­dents ex­er­cis­ing in the past 30 days, while Boise, Idaho, had the most folks meet­ing the aer­o­bic guide­line with 63.9 per­cent.)

Only 19.5 per­cent of Or­lando res­i­dents con­sume three or more veg­eta­bles per day and only 28.5 per­cent eat two or more fruits a day. (Buf­falo, N.Y., led the na­tion with 38.9 per­cent in the fruit cat­e­gory and San Francisco led the in veg­etable cat­e­gory with 27.5 per­cent.)

Part of our lower rank­ings on fruit and veg­etable con­sump­tion could be be­cause the re­port said there are only 14.4 farm­ers’ mar­kets per 1 mil­lion res­i­dents here. (Wash­ing­ton, D.C., led the na­tion with 85.1 farm­ers’ mar­kets per 1 mil­lion res­i­dents.)

The re­port found that 50.5 per­cent of Or­lando res­i­dents are con­sid­ered in ex­cel­lent or very good health. Con­trast that with 32.4 per­cent who are not con­sid­ered to be in good phys­i­cal health in the past 30 days, 28.2 per­cent who have high blood pres­sure, 26.6 per­cent who are con­sid­ered obese and 8.6 per­cent who have di­a­betes.

And if you think you those stats might make you lose sleep, you won’t be alone. Only 62.5 per­cent of Or­lando res­i­dents get seven-plus hours of sleep a day — less than res­i­dents in all the other Florida cities in­cluded in the rank­ings.

As to where we might ex­er­cise, Or­lando falls be­low the na­tional av­er­age with 5.4 per­cent of the city ded­i­cated to park­land. (An­chor­age, Alaska, topped that cat­e­gory with 84.2 per­cent of park­land).

Or­lando also falls be­low the na­tional av­er­age in per­cent­age of res­i­dents who bi­cy­cle to work (2.9 per­cent) and in its “walk score” (42.1).

Or­lando is above the na­tional av­er­age when it comes to bas­ket­ball hoops per 10,000 res­i­dents (4.9), re­cre­ation cen­ters per 20,000 res­i­dents (4.5) and swim­ming pools per 100,000 res­i­dents (4.0).

Dyer’s of­fice said the city con­tin­ues to work on cre­at­ing more parks, re­cre­ation and fit­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for Or­lando res­i­dents. Among them:

Gertrude’s Walk Phase 2 (Con­struc­tion is wrap­ping up now) — Two blocks of trail seg­ments

in Or­lando’s Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict con­nect­ing to an ex­ist­ing 0.3-mile ur­ban trail.

■ Colo­nial Over­pass (Con­struc­tion will be com­pleted

this fall 2018) — Bi­cy­cle and pedes­trian over­pass in Down­town Or­lando. The proposed over­pass con­nects the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict with the North Quar­ter por­tion of down­town. ■ Shin­gle Creek Trail (Con­struc­tion be­gins this win­ter) — 2.5-mile trail project from Oak Ridge Road to Sand Lake Roadin the In­ter­na­tional Drive Tourist Cor­ri­dor of Or­lando. ■ Or­lando Ur­ban Trail Gap (De­sign hap­pen­ing this year)

— Engi­neer­ing de­sign plans for the Or­lando Ur­ban Trail gap in the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict. This 0.3-mile trail will con­nect the Colo­nial Over­pass to the ex­ist­ing ter­mi­nus of the trail at Mag­no­lia Av­enue. ■ Down­town Con­nec­tor Trail (De­sign hap­pen­ing this year)

— Engi­neer­ing de­sign plans for the Down­town Con­nec­tor Trail, a 2-mile trail from the ex­ist­ing Lake Un­der­hill Path to the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict.

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