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Indianapolis Ranks Low On Most-Fit Cities List

Increased investment in the city's parks could encourage more people to exercise, one analyst says.

Indianapolis sits near the bottom on a list of fit cities released by the American College of Sports Medicine. The annual fitness report ranks the nation‘s 50 biggest metropolitan areas. Indianapolis ranks 43rd.

According to a survey, Indianapolis residents know exercise is important, but only 76 percent say they do it. That compares to a national average of 83 percent.

Dr. Walt Thompson is chairman of the advisory board of the ACSM American Fitness Index. He says the city is improving, but says more needs to be done. He suggests local leaders put more money into improving parks.

“The average park related expenditure per capita across the country is $101.83. In Indianapolis the park related expenditure per capital is $43,” he says.

Thompson says improving parks with more exercise-friendly options such as bike and walking lanes may bring more people outdoors and into the exercise habit.

Second hand smoke is now included as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a problem for Indy residents. The index shows the city with a high percentage of smokers at almost 20 percent, but the city is already working on that area. An expanded local smoking ban is set to take effect June 1.

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