Although America is credited as the obese nation, not every community in the country deserves that reputation. It’s true we could probably all cut back on some fast food and make time for a little more exercise during the week. But in some cases, people across the country are already doing those things.
To get a better picture of where those pockets of healthy living are located, WalletHub took a look at several factors and ranked the 150 most populated cities in the United States. Each city was scored according to four main factors: the quality and accessibility of health care, the quality of food people eat, levels of fitness in the population, and the amount of green space each city has.
“There are definitely ‘healthy’ and ‘toxic’ cities, and the differences are clear,” Lawrence O. Gostin, director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law & Human Rights at Georgetown University, told WalletHub. “Healthy cities have clean air and water; recreation facilities, parks, and green spaces; walking and bike paths; and accessible markets to affordably buy fresh fruits and vegetables.”
WalletHub’s study incorporated these items and more. The rankings included factors that indicate ongoing fitness, such as the percentage of active adults in a city. But they also included items that can demonstrate potential fitness, such as ample green spaces for people to walk, run, or otherwise exercise if they choose. A combination of both types of fitness landed these 10 cities at the top of the list. No. 2 has plenty of healthy restaurants to help make staying fit easier.
10. Santa Clarita, California
This southern California city near Los Angeles is the 10th most healthy city in the United States, according to WalletHub’s rankings. The city ranked at No. 10 for its health care options, and it ranked first in the nation for the number of walking trails per capita. And it ranked first in the nation for the “green space” category. That takes into account the walking trails, as well as acreage of parks, access to physical activity areas, and the ability to walk and ride bike within the city.
“Really interesting studies have been conducted which show that living in close proximity to green space correlates to better health outcomes,” Tomar Pierson-Brown, director of the Health Law Clinic in the School of Law at University of Pittsburgh, told WalletHub.