Fairfield County among best places to lose weight

If you haven’t yet gotten around to that resolution to shed some lbs this year, you just lost an excuse.

Residential real estate website Trulia has named Fairfield County the second best place in the U.S. to get fit. The Gold Coast county comes in behind San Francisco.

Fairfield County was specifically cited for its high density of gyms, though access to healthy food and outdoor activities were other factors in the ranking.

San Francisco Chronicle’s Anna Marie Erwert breaks down Trulia’s methodology:

Trulia’s “best cities to get in shape” survey is based on 5 parameters

1.) Access to and consumption of healthy food: Trulia used the ratio of “slow food” establishments (supermarkets, specialty food markets, and full-service restaurants) divided by “fast food” establishments (convenience stores and fast-food restaurants). Metros with more “slow food” and less “fast food” scored higher. San Francisco, New York, and Cape Coral–Fort Myers, FL, came out on top.

2.) Commuting by body power: Trulia calculated ”the percentage of workers who commute by walking or biking.” Metros where people in close distance of their workplaces did well on this measure, as did metros with better weather.New York, Boston, San Francisco, Honolulu, Middlesex County, MA, and Portland, OR, had the highest share of workers getting to work on two feet or two wheels.

3. ) Plentiful gyms: Trulia used the number of gyms, health clubs, and fitness centers per 1,000 households. Suburban metros like Fairfield County, CT (next to New York), Middlesex County, MA (next to Boston), Long Island, NY, and Lake County–Kenosha County, IL (next to Chicago), have the highest density of gyms.

4. ) Plentiful outdoor alternatives: Not everyone enjoys, can afford, or wants to exercise exclusively at a a gym, so Trulia factored outdoor sports opportunities by calculating the number of sporting-goods stores per 1,000 households. After all, those stores couldn’t exist if folks weren’t supporting them. Metros on top here well are those near mountains like Salt Lake City and Colorado Springs; beach areas like Ventura County, CA, San Diego, and Honolulu; and the outdoorsy Pacific Northwest metros of Seattle and Portland. Of course, San Francisco has access to all of these natural environments.

5.) Programs and support groups: Hard sometimes to commit to fitness alone, so Trulia included the number of weight-loss and diet centers per 1,000 households. Philadelphia, Orange County, CA, and Camden, NJ, have the highest density of these centers in the US.

With all these measures combined, San Francisco tops the list among the largest 100 metros. San Francisco scores especially well for offering healthy food options and lots of local gyms, as well as having a high share of residents walking or biking to work.


Data on walking or biking to work come from the Census’s American Community Survey; all other data come from the Census’s County Business Patterns. The study did not account for the number of overweight or obese residents. “We are looking for the metros that offer the best tools for people trying to lose weight–not the metros with the fittest, thinnest, or most beautiful people,” says Trulia.

Real estate tie-in

Trulia also notes that the best metros for losing weight tend to have expensive real estate: six of the top 10 metros have am average price per square foot above $200. And in our fair city, the average price per square foot was $626 at the end of the last quarter of 2012– which, incidentally, is 17.4% higher than it was in the same period of 2011. So we could also say San Francisco is a top city for healthy property values.

Mike DeSalvo