Newswise — Indianapolis (July 31, 2020) – National Farmers Market Week kicks off Sunday (Aug. 2) in the United States. Washington, D.C. has extra reason to celebrate. The city ranks number one for farmers markets among the 100 largest U.S. cities, according to the 2020 American Fitness Index® rankings published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Anthem Foundation. More than 8,600 farmers markets currently operate across the U.S., helping to stimulate the local economy and provide access to nourishing food.

The Fitness Index annually evaluates America’s 100 largest cities using 33 health behaviors, chronic diseases and community infrastructure indicators. Farmers Markets are one of the built environment indicators, and D.C. leads the way, offering 82.6 farmers markets per one million residents. That’s nearly four-and-a-half times greater than the 18.7 average across all 100 cities. Madison, Wis.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Arlington, Va., Richmond, Va.; Boston, Mass.; Cleveland, Ohio; Anchorage, Alaska; and Portland, Ore.; round out the top 10 city list for farmers markets. 

“Our research-backed Fitness Index rankings reveal how well communities work to achieve healthier and more physically active populations,” said Fitness Index Advisory Board Member Stella L. Volpe, Ph.D., R.D.N., ACSM-CEP®, FACSM, who chairs the Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University. “In honor of National Farmers Market Week, we applaud these top cities and their commitment to support healthy, active lifestyles.”

Proximity to fresh produce affects healthy eating, and farmers markets play a large role in the accessibility of nourishing food. In fact, local farmers markets have been shown to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, especially when paired with nutrition assistance programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

“Eating a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is the ideal way to make sure your body receives necessary vitamins and minerals to stay healthy,” adds Volpe. “Planning meals around foods that are in season is a great way to stay healthy and keep variety in your diet. Local farmers markets are just the place to purchase that healthy, seasonal produce.” 

A diet high in fruits and vegetables decreases the risk for many chronic diseases. Fitness Index scores show that adults tend to eat fruit more regularly than vegetables. Across all 100 cities, only 33% of adults eat the recommended two servings of fruit per day, and just 16% eat at least three or more servings of vegetables daily. That means 42.6 million people aren’t eating enough fruit each day, and 54.3 million people aren’t getting enough vegetables.

Residents and community leaders of Arlington, Va., which earned the title of “America’s Fittest City” for the third consecutive year in 2020, understand the health benefits associated with fruits and vegetables. Arlington is the only city to rank in the top 10 across the indicators for farmers markets, consuming more than two fruits per day and eating more than three vegetables a day. Washington, D.C.; Madison, Wis.; Anchorage, Alaska; Nashville, Tenn.; and San Jose, Calif. rank in the top 10 for at least two of those three indicators.

Farmers Markets

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Madison, Wis.
  3. Minneapolis, Minn.
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. Arlington, Va.
  6. Richmond, Va.
  7. Boston, Mass.
  8. Cleveland, Ohio
  9. Anchorage, Alaska
  10. Portland, Ore.

Consuming 2+ Fruits/Day

  • Madison, Wis.
  • Newark, N.J.
  • Fresno, Calif.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Chula Vista & San Diego, Calif.
  • Arlington, Va.
  • San Jose, Calif.
  • Arlington, Texas

Consuming 3+ Vegetables/Day

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • Arlington, Va.
  • Irving, Texas
  • Anaheim, Irvine & Santa Ana, Calif.
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • San Jose, Calif.
  • Garland, Texas 

Access the full rankings and scores, summary report, city comparison tool and other insights on the American Fitness Index website.

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About the American College of Sports Medicine

ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 members and certified professionals around the world are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to improve educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. A global leader in promoting the benefits of physical activity, ACSM advocates for legislation that helps the government and health community make physical activity a priority. ACSM encourages Congress to support continued funding of parks, trails and safe routes to school to better enable all Americans to meet the prescribed physical activity recommendations included in the National Physical Activity Guidelines. Find details at www.acsm.org.

 

About the Anthem Foundation

The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.