For a look at the fittest states in the nation, WebMD dipped into the CDC’s 2009 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS tracks how many adults met physical activity guidelines, among other things. You can also check out the fattest states in America.
1. Alaska – Alaska lives up to its image as a haven for people who love rugged adventure. This state has 17 of the nation’s 20 highest mountain peaks, more than 6,000 miles of coastline, and the highest percentage of active adults. About six in 10 Alaskans are physically active.
2. Montana – The land of the Big Sky inspires outdoor activity, such as hiking, skiing, and rafting. It also promotes physical activity with programs such as Big Sky Fit Kids. More than half of Montana’s adults get the recommended level of weekly physical activity.
3. Vermont – Vermont’s children and adults are among the most active in the nation. Vermonters are also more likely than most to eat their fruits and vegetables. In fact, Vermont was named the healthiest state in the nation in the 2010 America’s Health Rankings.
4. Utah – Utah, home of the 2002 Olympic Games, is known for its mountain resorts and adventure sports. About half of Utah’s adults are highly active, according to the CDC.
5. Idaho – Idaho grows potatoes, not couch potatoes. Only about one in five Idahoans are inactive, and more than half get the recommended amount of physical activity.
6. Wyoming – Wyoming, home of Yellowstone National Park, is mostly rural, a place where herds may outnumber humans. Hunting, fishing, and camping are popular. Most Wyoming adults are physically active. Still, the state is promoting fitness through a series of challenges, including Maintain Don’t Gain and Flab on Fire. By joining at least three bi-monthly challenges, participants can earn a health insurance discount.
7. Colorado – The only state with an obesity rate below 20%. Sure, its mountains and rivers attract outdoorsy types. But Colorado also has places to play close to home. About two-thirds of children and teens have parks, community centers and sidewalks in their neighborhoods, according to the CDC. With healthy living, Colorado ties with Alaska for the nation’s lowest rate of diabetes.
8. Oregon – The West is the fittest region in the country, and Oregon is a prime example. With coast and mountains, lush forests and sand-swept deserts, the state’s varied terrain beckons sports enthusiasts. Outdoor Life magazine named Bend, Ore., the No. 1 town for sportsmen. Oregon also has the lowest rate of childhood obesity in the country.
9. Maine – Maine is one of the fittest states in the country, according to the BRFSS. In Maine, thanks to the Let’s Go! program, schools are more likely to offer healthy snacks and avoid using food as a reward. Adults are more likely to be physically active in Maine than in most other states, as well.
10. District of Columbia – Almost everyone in DC lives within a half-mile of a park. The city’s obesity ranking is the second-lowest, and it has the highest life expectancy in the United States.