Memphis named unhealthiest city in America

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis was named the unhealthiest city in America in the 2014 American Fitness Index report.

Fifty cities were ranked, and Memphis came in dead last.

The American Fitness Index bases their rankings on four things, all of which include multiple indicators:

1) Chronic health problems (diabetes, asthma)

2) Health behaviors (smoking, fruit consumption)

3) Physical or built environments (parks, farmer’s markets)

4) Recreational facilities (pools, playgrounds)

It’s a city famous for barbecue, and on Beale Street, the food and drinks never seem to stop flowing.

“There aren’t many health places you can eat,” Memphis resident Desteni Leakes said.

Memphians like Leakes think the city could do better.

“I think the city should do something to motivate the parents so our society won’t be so obese.”

The Shelby County Health Department said they are already working to improve health in the city.

Community Health Planner Jason Hodges said, “We’ve identified through our health assessment process called the mobilizing through action and planning partnerships, or MAP, six priority areas that fall in line with the American Fitness Index Report.”

Those priority areas are not just dealing with physical issues, but also mental issues.

Gym owner Mark Akin of Envision Memphis said while city programs are great, people need to take control of their own lives.

“Just start where you’re at,” he said. “Just start moving where you’re at. If all you can do is walk around the block, that’s great. Walk around the block. Walk halfway around the block.”

Local health officials said the study is food for thought that could help give Memphis the motivation it needs.

Washington, D.C., was ranked as the best city for health and fitness.

Learn more about Memphis’ score.

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