Insights & Actions for Healthy Living
Healthy Cities — is Yours One? Are You Taking Advantage of It?

Healthy Cities — is Yours One? Are You Taking Advantage of It?

You work hard to lead a healthy lifestyle and live the fullest life possible.

Will your city help or hurt your efforts?

Many experts feel that the city in which you live can impact your health.

As you improve your eating pattern and stay as physically active as possible to prevent chronic medical problems, your city could work against you or spur you on to greater progress.

What makes a city healthy or unhealthy?

Which cities support wellness, make healthcare accessible and facilitate a healthy lifestyle?

Latest Report Findings

A recent study performed by data analysts at WalletHub reported on the Healthiest Cities in America by investigating 150 of the most populated U.S. cities based on 34 key indicators of good health. Their data compared items such as “cost of doctor visit” to “fruit and vegetable consumption” to “fitness clubs per capita.”

The 5 healthiest cities were:

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Salt Lake City, UT
  3. Scottsdale, AZ
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Portland, OR

The 5 least healthy cities were:

  1. Shreveport, LA
  2. Laredo, TX
  3. Memphis, TN
  4. Brownsville, TX
  5. Detroit, MI

There were 4 main categories of evaluation for each city – healthcare, food, fitness, and green spaces.

Some of the items were: number of doctors, number of dentists, cost of doctor or dental visit, hospital beds available, number of insured adults and children, quality of healthcare system based on CMS rankings, mental health accessibility, fruit and vegetable consumption, number of farmer’s markets, healthy restaurants, number of dietitian nutritionists, obesity statistics, number of fitness clubs, recreation leagues, weight loss centers, parkland acres, running/walking/hiking trails, and recreation access.

The top three cities ranked in each category were:


  1. Overland Park, KS
  2. Sioux Falls, SD
  3. Lincoln, NE


  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Portland, OR
  3. Salt Lake City, UT


  1. Scottsdale, AZ
  2. Atlanta, GA
  3. Salt Lake City, UT

Green Spaces:

  1. Santa Clarita, CA
  2. Glendale, CA
  3. San Francisco, CA

The availability of the resources needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle was the focus of this report. Whether or not people actually used the available resources continues to be a public health awareness goal.

It should also be noted that not every state was represented in this report. In fact, many states had no cities assessed while other states had several cities in the sample.

It might be more helpful if the number of cities studied was larger so that people across the country can react to get more available resources in place for their personal health and that of their citizens.

The Nutrition Expert!

According to this study, having access to a Dietitian Nutritionist is important for a healthy city and this dietitian wholeheartedly agrees!

Dietitians are the nutrition experts who can guide you and your family with science based facts to live a healthier lifestyle through proper nutrition.

They found that these cities welcomed (or not) dietitians to practice in their area:

Most Dietitians Nutritionists per capita:

  1. Durham, NC
  2. Birmingham, AL
  3. Madison, WI
  4. Augusta, Ga
  5. Little Rock, AK

Fewest Dietitians Nutritionists per capita:

145. Chattanooga, TN

146. Huntsville, AL

T-147. Las Vegas, Nevada

T-147. Henderson, Nevada

T-147. North Las Vegas, Nevada

Personal Goals for a Healthier You

It is interesting to learn the methodology behind reports such as this that tend to make a media splash when they get released.

But what do the headlines mean for you and your own town?

Knowing which cities are making the health of the community a priority, especially in these times when prevention of chronic disease and disparate health outcomes is a major concern for many, will be helpful for you as an advocate for your own health.

You can advocate for health access improvement in your city that will benefit everyone including your personal health and well-being goals when you ask for and then participate in accessing the available resources.

Using city parks, demanding affordable healthcare, seeking out experts like dietitians and encouraging healthy food options including farmer’s markets in your local community will help you and your family meet your personal health goals plus help others.

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