Report demotes Mpls. fitness rank

Fitness levels in Minnesota have come into question after a recent report revealed that Washington, D.C., overtook Minneapolis’ metro area as the nation’s “fittest city” for the second year in a row. While it is clear that Minneapolis is still one of the fittest cities in the U.S. — ranked No. 2 for the past two years — some argue that this recent trend is a result of misguided policymaking. 
 
One point critics have raised is the lack of required physical education in Minneapolis schools beyond elementary school, the Minnesota Daily reported May 27.
 
Without this requirement, some argue that kids are not physically active enough during the day, and they conclude that this has led to the decrease in the city’s fitness status. 
 
Despite this criticism, there are also many positives that help keep Minneapolis fit. Both high spending on parks — around $214 per capita each year — and high levels of fitness among University of Minnesota students concentrated in the area have helped retain the city’s position near the top of the national fitness rankings. 
 
We believe the fitness report, found in The American College of Sports Medicine’s American Fitness Index, has highlighted an important issue in the metro area.
 
Though physical education classes may have unclear effects on children’s actual fitness levels, they should be a part of schools’ curricula. 
 
There is clear evidence that points to greater focus and success in students who frequently move and exercise throughout the day. We hope the city notices this report and takes its findings into consideration.