See how your city stacks up on Wallet Hub’s annual list of healthiest cities in the United States.
States were ranked according to the following factors:
• Health care
• Green space
WalletHub created these rankings by compiling data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Council for Community and Economic Research, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, County Health Rankings, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Yelp, Numbeo, IMLeagues, The Trust for Public Land, MapMyFitness, Walk Score, and WalletHub’s research of its own.
WalletHub also surveyed a panel of 11 experts from various backgrounds to weigh in on the following questions:
• What impact would repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—dubbed “Obamacare”—have on the health of U.S. cities, particularly those with a high low-income population?
• What effect might repealing the Medicaid expansion under the ACA have on state and municipal budgets?
• What are the most important factors to consider in choosing a city that is good for your health?
• Because health and wealth are both long-term investments, what are some effective strategies for convincing people to invest more in their health today?
• What tips do you have for a person looking to embrace a healthier lifestyle while on a budget?
• What measures can local authorities undertake in order to improve local health
We asked ODs in each city to weigh in. Each respondent practices in one of the top
-10 healthiest cities in America according to WalletHub’s annual list. We wanted to see what makes their city one of the healthiest in the nation from their point-of-view.
Here’s what they had to say!
1. San Francisco, CA
John Flanagan, OD, PhD, FAAO
For a big, densely populated city, San Francisco is great place to get outside and exercise. Golden Gate Park is always jammed with walkers, runners, bikers, and skaters. On weekends, the park's grassy areas are filled with softball and soccer players.
If the coast is more to your liking, a string of beaches wraps around the northwest corner of the city, providing a spectacular backdrop for strolling, picnicking and even surfing for those bold enough to brave the icy waters (and sharks!) of the NorCal coast.
Just across the Golden Gate Bridge is Marin County where forested mountains and miles of stunning coastline offer an easy-to-access haven for hikers and bikers.
With opportunities like this so near, it's easy to stay fit, healthy and happy! Or it could just be the wine!
2. Salt Lake City, UT
Nazy Galehdari, OD
I think Salt Lake City is a great city to live and practice in for many reasons. First, we have access to some of the best skiing in the country. In fact, it’s not unreasonable to think that you can be on the slopes from practically anywhere in the city within a 20- to 30-minute drive.
Salt Lake also has wonderful outdoor activities in the form of parks and trails just minutes from the city center. Hiking, biking, climbing, camping, and rafting are all some of the recreational activities that are possible year round. What I love about living here is that Salt Lake has all the big city amenities but still has the small hometown feel.
Practicing optometry is also nice because the scope of practice in Utah is very wide; we have a strong state association and the association’s members are involved. We have it good in Salt Lake City!
3. Scottsdale, AZ
Marc Bloomenstein, OD, FAAO
I think most of my patients are overweight smokers with gun racks, or perhaps it is because of yoga clothing sales. No one works out in Scottsdale, AZ, but they all are wearing the athe-leisure clothing!
4. Seattle, WA
David Kading, OD, FAAO
Seattlites love to be outside. We enjoy the green world that we live in. Rain or shine (but especially when it is shine) we are by the beach, on a boat, or in the mountains enjoying nature.
We also are open to non-traditional medicine. Most of us are treated through a combination of western and naturopathic medicine. We are highly educated and question traditional approaches to things (heck, we are the birthplace of Nirvana and West Coast punk). We enjoy searching out alternative ways to fix old problems.
That’s why I think we are healthier.
5. Portland, OR
Charles McBride, OD
I'm actually a bit surprised that Portland ranked as high as it did. We have plenty of obesity and our share of individuals who smoke cigarettes and other things. It makes me wonder about the cities that ranked in the bottom half.
That said, Portland does have a robust bicycle riding culture and a growing obsession for organic foods. There are weekend farmer’s markets everywhere where Portlanders flock to get their locally grown fruits, vegetables, and meats.
There are lots of parks and paths for hiking, and everyone is so used to the rain that it doesn't seem to matter. And speaking of rain, maybe Portland is so healthy because the rain washes everything clean every other day.
6. Irvine, CA
Art Cordish, OD
Why is Irvine among the healthiest cities in America?
• Educated population. People take care of themselves and their families
• Higher-than-average income population. People can afford to take care of themselves and their families
• Employed population. People have insurance to help them take care of themselves and their families
• Lots of doctors per capita. Health care is available readily
Plus, we have charming, intelligent doctors like myself who patients can’t wait to come and visit on a regular basis.
7. Huntington Beach, CA
Paul Blaze, OD
I live in Irvine and practice optometry in Huntington Beach, CA. Both cities have good access to trails, beaches, and value open space.
The California lifestyle is an outdoor one. Many folks value physical fitness and have hobbies that support fitness such as:
• Mountain biking
• Paddle boarding
I surf every lunch break. Also, homes are expensive and families tend to pass down homes, so generational fitness values usually get passed on as well.
8. Honolulu, HI
Tammy Lem, OD
Hawaii's perfect weather nearly year-round lends itself to outdoor activity. If you don't like water sports, which are readily available by the handful, you can hike, jog, or cycle.
I picked up longboard surfing last year. There is something for everybody here in Honolulu.
9. Washington, D.C.
Stephen L. Glasser, OD, FAAO
In a city known for its strain, stress, and endless hours of work, one would think that Washington, DC, would be one of the unhealthiest cities.
But, with all the big-city stresses comes an increased understanding for the need for proper care. Because of this, the availability of access to care facilities as well as access to activities that lead to a healthier life are readily available in DC
DC truly has it all.
10. Santa Clarita, CA
Joshua Corben, OD
I live and work in Santa Clarita, CA. I am an avid cyclist, and I feel that the city enjoys its open spaces and the city tries to preserve as much of this as possible.
This allows for people to get out and enjoy nature so close to Los Angeles. Santa Clarita also has a network of trails and paseos that allow for ease of exercise within the various communities.