Virginia Beach Parks Boost Region’s National Fitness Ranking

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hampton Roads is the 18th fittest region in the country, thanks largely to the number of city parks and recreational opportunities available to citizens in Virginia Beach, according to a national study.


The American College of Sports Medicine evaluated the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas on factors like health behaviors, chronic health problems and the availability of parks, swimming pools, tennis courts and golf courses.  This is the fifth annual study by the organization.


“Virginia Beach residents like to be active,” said Michael Kalvort, director of Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation, “This ranking reflects the emphasis the city places on its citizens’ health and well-being.  That’s why we offer so many parks, recreation centers, playgrounds, walking paths, and athletic leagues.”


The region’s highest scores were based on data mostly from Virginia Beach alone. The city ranked No. 7 in the country for its park facilities. Virginia Beach fared especially well in park acres per capita, park-related spending per capita, and the number of parks, ball fields, playgrounds and tennis courts per capita.


The region ranked about average – 25th out of 50 – for personal health indicators gathered from Hampton Roads generally. These include physical activity, eating habits, death rates for heart disease and diabetes, and availability of health insurance.


Minneapolis-St. Paul and the Washington, D.C., metro area were ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively. Richmond was ranked No. 20.


To read the complete study, visit