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Cities and Health

A recent study earmarks the healthiest and unhealthiest U.S. cities

Personal finance company WalletHub recently completed a study that compared more than 180 of the most populated U.S. cities across 41 key indicators of good health. Its data set ranges from the cost of a medical visit to fruit and vegetable consumption to the share of physically active adults.

The 2024 list of the healthiest and unhealthiest cities in America evaluated over 180 metropolitan areas across the country based on 41 metrics across four key dimensions:

  1. Healthcare: This dimension includes premature death rates, both adult and youth health insurance coverage, and mental health.

  2. Food: It considers residents who report eating healthy, inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, and limited access to healthy foods.

  3. Fitness: This dimension looks at the share of adults engaging in physical activity and the availability of fitness and instruction centers.

  4. Green space: It factors in parkland acres per capita, park quality, and what Wallethub labels "overall city greenness.”

The data was collected from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the Council for Community and Economic Research, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the best conditions for a healthy lifestyle. The cities received a weighted average across all 41 metrics, determining their overall score and ranking.

Here are the top 10 healthiest cities in the United States according to WalletHub:

  1. San Francisco, CA

  2. Honolulu, HI

  3. Seattle, WA

  4. San Diego, CA

  5. Washington, D.C.

  6. Portland, OR

  7. Denver, CO

  8. Salt Lake City, UT

  9. Scottsdale, AZ

  10. Irvine, CA

On the other hand, the 10 unhealthiest cities in the United States are:

  1. Brownsville, TX

  2. Gulfport, MS

  3. Laredo, TX

  4. Columbus, GA

  5. Shreveport, LA

  6. Augusta, GA

  7. Fayetteville, NC

  8. Corpus Christi, TX

  9. Detroit, MI

  10. Huntington, WV

These rankings highlight the importance of factors like access to high-quality healthcare, green spaces, recreation centers, and healthy food in promoting overall well-being.

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