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Plentiful parks, solid sleep: Raleigh ranks 14th on 'fittest cities' list

Posted May 16
Updated June 12

— Raleigh is the fittest metropolitan area in the Southeast and checks in at No. 14 on an annual list ranking America's fittest cities.

The American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation released its annual list Tuesday. The annual report looks at heart disease and diabetes rates, smoking, availability of farmer's markets and whether cities are investing in natural areas where residents can exercise.

Raleigh did well in the analysis of the number of people who get the recommended seven-plus hours of sleep daily, and the City of Oaks also earned high marks for having more acres of parkland, basketball hoops and parks per capita.

The only other city in the South to make the top 15 was Austin, Texas, which checked in at No. 12. Charlotte ranked 47th.

Minneapolis and St. Paul rank at the top of the 2017 list, with Washington D.C. coming in second. San Francisco, Seattle and San Jose round out the top five.

Compared to last year, 16 percent more people nationwide are getting enough aerobic exercise, and there was a 10 percent drop in diagnosed chest pain or heart disease.

Still, obesity has risen, as have deaths from diabetes, and fewer people say they're in "optimal" health.

At the bottom of the list were Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and Louisville.

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