Study: Orlando residents must get fitter
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.