Did you know your city can play a major role in determining your overall health? That's why WalletHub put together a panel of experts to analyze which U.S. cities are doing the best job of keeping their residents healthy and happy.
Pulling data from sources like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Census Bureau, WalletHub evaluated 100 of the most populated U.S. metro areas across numerous metrics, such as health care, fitness and access to green space. You can read the full report and an explanation of the methodology here.
Where does your city rank?
10. Santa Clarita, Calif.1 of 11
This sunny California city scores especially high for access to green space and has the most walking trails per capita of all cities surveyed—about 53 times more than cities at the bottom of the list.
Access to trails and other exercise-friendly resources is an important part of maintaining a healthy population.
"A city that is good for your health will create a culture of health," says Michelle Cardel, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy at the University of Florida. "This includes making exercise easier with access to bike lanes, trails, green spaces, parks, swimming pools, sidewalks and public transportation."
9. Washington, DC2 of 11
Our nation's capital, with its beautiful monuments and scenic tours, is also a runner's paradise and includes the most running trails per capita of all cities surveyed—about 54 times more than cities at the bottom of this list.
8. Honolulu3 of 11
This vacation destination doesn't just make travelers happy—its residents are doing well, too. As the capital and largest city in Hawaii, Honolulu is home to beautiful natural resources and an enjoyable climate that makes getting active outside much easier.
Honolulu also ranks high in the food category, meaning residents have regular access to affordable, nutritious food—an important factor in determining the overall health of the city's population.
7. Huntington Beach, Calif.4 of 11
This beach city in southern California has one of the lowest premature death rates in the country, about three times less than cities like St. Louis and Baltimore.
Staying healthy throughout one's life doesn't have to be so complicated, according to Lawrence O. Gostin, director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law & Human Rights at Georgetown University.
"Staying healthy requires buying and cooking healthy foods, lots of physical activity and avoiding tobacco and excessive use of alcohol," he says.
6. Irvine, Calif.5 of 11
California lands on this list for the third time with Irvine, a planned city located in Orange County.
If you're looking to move to a city that promotes a healthier lifestyle, it's important to take a few things into account, according to Lynn. A Blewett, a Mayo professor of healthy policy and management at the University of Minnesota.
"I think the most important factors are to look for a place where you can get outdoors and exercise," she says. "Overall people, are more likely to walk and bike in communities with patterns of development that prioritize walking and biking (and pedestrian safety) over car travel."
5. Portland, Ore.6 of 11
It's no wonder this city in the northwestern United States broke the top five. Portland has the third highest percentage of physically active adults in the nation and the most healthy restaurants per capita—each promoting an especially healthy population.
Portland even ranked as one of the top five cities with the lowest percentage of adults eating fewer than a single serving of fruits and vegetables per day.
4. Seattle7 of 11
Seattle mimics its northwestern cousin, Portland, by ranking in two of the same categories. Seattle currently has the highest percentage of physically active adults in the country and ranks fifth for healthy restaurants per capita.
3. Scottsdale, Ariz.8 of 11
Scottsdale, Ariz., breaks the top three by scoring extremely high in the fitness category. The city has a high percentage of fitness clubs and recreational leagues per capita, each with low membership costs, plus residents who actively engage in physical activity—the second highest percentage of all cities surveyed.
Trying to be more active in a city that lacks resources? No need to go overboard, according to Joe K. Gerald, associate professor of public health policy and management at the University of Arizona. "Relatively small investments such as 30 minutes of brisk walking most days of the week can pay health dividends equivalent of those in gyms or other sources of recreation," he says.
2. Salt Lake City9 of 11
Salt Lake City ranks high in both food and fitness categories, nabbing the runner-up spot on this list. With a strong outdoors community, thanks to the natural resources surrounding the city, and a bustling restaurant economy, residents have access to numerous ways to stay fit and eat healthy.
1. San Francisco10 of 11
This city in California has long been topping lists just like this one, thanks to its beautiful weather and young, healthy population. The city is also heavily known for its "foodie" scene—it ranks high for access to healthy food and it has the lowest percentage of adults eating less than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day.