The National Collegiate Fitness Index ranks collegiate and university campuses for physical and programmatic resources that promote active living and healthy lifestyles.
The student fitness center at Penn State University helped the university rank No. 1 on the large public university list. (Photo courtesy Penn State University.)
Penn State University, Lyndon State University and Southern Adventist University were ranked as the top collegiate campuses in the recently released National Collegiate Fitness Index (NCFI).
The colleges in the NCFI, which ranks collegiate and university campuses for physical and programmatic resources that promote active living and healthy lifestyles, were divided into three categories: large public universities (Penn State), small public universities (Lyndon State) and private universities (Southern Adventist).
The NCFI selected three domains for judgment criteria in the rankings: transportation, recreation infrastructure, and recreation and educational policies and services. A total of 107 schools responded to the NCFI survey. The survey included 28 total items within the three domains, including the number of cardio/weight rooms, tanning rooms, group fitness classes per week, various courts, swimming pools, sport fields and rock climbing walls.
The academic institutions that responded to the survey had great diversity in campus community fitness levels, the report noted. The three No.1-ranked universities and the other campuses that ranked near the top had numerous strengths that supported active living and relatively few challenges that hindered it, according to the report.
Penn State scored highest in walk score, group fitness classes per week and physical education class sections per semester. Lyndon State scored highest in physical education class sections per semester, walk score and tennis courts. Southern Adventist scored highest in physical education class sections per semester, group fitness classes per week, golf holes and outdoor recreation trips per year.
The NCFI is modeled after the American Fitness Index (AFI) program, which assesses the health and wellness of the 50 largest cities in the United States. The NCFI is a collaborative project between the National Academy of Kinesiology, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Kinesiology Association.
The top five universities in each category are listed below. The full report is available here.
Top Five Large Public Universities
1. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
2. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
3. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
4. Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois
5. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
Top Five Small Public Universities
1. Lyndon State University, Lyndonville, Vermont
2. Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas
3. Western State Colorado University, Gunnison, Colorado
4. University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
5. Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota
Top Five Private Universities
1. Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee
2. Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa
3. Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, Ohio
4. Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri
5. Barton College, Wilson, North Carolina