Data on Facebook’s Fittest Cities Ranking Does Not Add Up

Facebook has released a colorful graph ranking the fittest cities in the country via their Facebook Stories app. Other categories in the infographic include official sounding titles like “Dancing City,” “Swimming City,” “Marathon City,” and “Yoga City.” The graphic contains some sweet clip art and most of the cities make sense; Austin is definitely full of Yogis, OKC just collectively lost one million pounds so they must be fit, and Portland is a utopia populated by trendy entrepreneurs so they’re on the list by default.

facebook fittest cities

In the release, Facebook’s Mandy Zibart said, “Ranking of the fittest cities is based on fitness-related mentions, check-ins and use of fitness apps over a period of three months in U.S. cities with at least 200,000 Facebook users.” We think it’s a lot of talk though. Some of the cities included in the graph must have been giving themselves too much credit when they shared their activities, as some of the data is contradictory with other, more fact-based studies.

Facebook claims that El Paso and San Antonio, TX are among the 10 fittest cities in America. Earlier this year, Men’s Health listed both of those cities among the fattest in the nation, citing obesity and lack of physical activity among the population, and the prevalence of fast food joints in the area.

Another obscure choice was Wichita, KS as “Health Club City.” This ambiguous title was awarded to the most populous city in Kansas, in a county that was just ranked the 72nd least healthy territory in the state. The city of Wichita recently welcomed two Chick-fil-A franchises, an event which saw hordes of Sunflower Staters camping out days before the grand opening. Additionally, Wichita ranked number three in a study examining which U.S. city spent the most on fast food (residents spend nearly twice the national average on fast food). With stats like that, “Health Club City” might not be the most accurate title for the founding city of Pizza Hut and White Castle.

Since social media is an avenue for people to showcase their most idealized selves, it’s no wonder that some of the particulars are a little off.  The human element in the study skewed the data in bizarre ways. Apparently Tucson, AZ is a great place to swim, and a lot of dancing goes on in Oakland. Additionally, the two most populous cities in America, New York and Los Angeles, didn’t make the list. Perhaps they should share the “Most Honest Social Media City” award.

We will grant that Oklahoma City does have a robust running community, Portland is consistently one of the healthiest cities in the country, and Colorado Springs is based in one of the least obese states.

Also Read:

Mexico Outweighs United States in Most Obese Rankings 

New County Rankings Show Vermont as Healthiest State; Mississippi Least Healthy 

Twitter’s Most Popular Fitness Memes

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