7:03am

Tue May 24, 2011
The Commonwealth

Louisville Ranks Low in Physical Fitness

The acting head of the Louisville Department of Health and Wellness says the city’s recent poor showing in the American Fitness Index is not a reflection of his department’s programs. Louisville and the surrounding counties were ranked next to last in the index, which measured the general fitness of residents of various metropolitan areas.

Dr. Matt Zahn says that doesn’t mean programs like the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement aren’t working. Rather, he says the health department knew Louisvillians were less healthy than residents of many other cities, and that’s how the programs originated.

“No movement or program that we are going to be able to institute is in one year or a couple of years make an obvious dent into these problems. We know that these problems are chronic. These are chronic diseases,” he says. ”There is no way that Metro Government is going to be able to impose or entirely facilitate a solution to that. What we can do is help to provide people with opportunities and education so they can make choices to make themselves healthier.”

An unhealthy populace can lead to higher medical costs for all residents and discourage businesses from relocating to the area.

Louisvillians are, on average, less active, more overweight and more likely to smoke than residents of most other metro areas. Click here to see the report.