America's top five cities for active living named in new report

Boston may be known for it's frigid winter temperatures and seafood cuisine, but in between eating and bundling up, Beantown residents can take advantage of Boston's outdoor recreational opportunities, according to a new report.

Boston took the top spot in a new ranking based on Active Living Score, a metric found using data on walkability, bike-ability, transit structure and availability of parks in some 48 medium to large metro areas in the U.S.

San Francisco and Chicago took the second and third spots on the ranking, which was released as part of the Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being series.

The results for the 48 communities in the report, released Tuesday, are based on 149,938 phone interviews and on publicly available data.

Cities that invest in active living infrastructures like bike paths and parks may also see a big payoff in their residents’ health, the report said.

Those who live in the five highest ranked active living communities had lower rates on average of a slew of diseases, ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression. Those in the highest ranked cities also had higher rates of healthy behaviors like exercise and fresh product consumption compared to those living in the five lowest-ranked active communities.

Fort Wayne, Ind., Oklahoma City and Indianapolis had the lowest active living scores, according to the report.

Cities that encourage active living see a payoff not only in residents' health but also in economic growth, said Dan Burden, director of innovation and inspiration at Blue Zones.

“From protected bike lanes, mixed use development, trails, and wide sidewalks to landscaping and other amenities, it’s been proven that an active environment results in healthier citizens, steadier long-term growth, and a more vibrant economy," Burden said in a statement.

Find out more about where your city ranks here. 

Follow @MaryBowerman on Twitter. 


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